In his first press conference since signing former Florida Gators quarterback Tim Tebow to a two-year contract, New England Patriots head coach Bill Belichick was hit with 25 questions about the signal caller. He did his best to mitigate the hoopla, never providing an answer longer than three sentences.
Below is a transcription of the back-and-forth between Belichick and the media on Tuesday with all 25 of his responses when asked about the Tebow signing.
Reporter: What can you tell us about your decision to sign Tim Tebow? I was wondering what is it about his personality or his attitude that makes you believe you can make…
Belichick: “Anything we do we feel is in the best interest of the team. Tim is a talented player that’s smart and works hard, so we’ll see how it goes.”
Reporter: Coach, I cover politics for a TV station in New Hampshire, but I’m here today… How much of a consideration was the attention that I’m sure you knew was going to come when signing Tim Tebow before making that decision?
Belichick: “None. I try to do what’s best for the team.”
Reporter: How do you deal with a player coming in with all this fanfare and celebrity? Do you have to sit them down to talk to them about what they’re doing, especially when they get all this fuss?
Belichick: “In all honesty, we’ve been in front of bigger crowds than this before. We’ll just keep doing what our job is. We’ll try to get better as a football team individually and collectively, and that’s what we’re going to do.”
Reporter: How do you plan on using him? What position?
Belichick: “What position? We’re going to do what we think is best for our football team. I don’t know, we’ll see.”
Reporter: Is it possible he can be used on special teams, defense in addition to offense?
Belichick: “We’ll see, I don’t know.”
Reporter: Specific to his on-field traits, what are some of the things you liked about Tim when evaluating him from last year and the year before that?
Belichick: “He’s a talented guy, smart, works hard. We’ve all seen him play. He can do a lot of things. We’ve seen that.”
Reporter: Specific to that position though, do you have an idea of a number for the 53-man roster?
Reporter: Can you talk about your relationship with Tim? You’ve known him a long time. Obviously there are things about him that you like as a football player, attitude or whatever.
Belichick: “Yeah, I like Tim. I have a lot of respect for Tim.”
Reporter: It was a close relationship over a lot of years, I understand?
Belichick: “Never coached him before, so I’m certainly closer with a lot of the players I’ve coached through my career.”
Reporter: There are people around the league questioning if he can play quarterback in the NFL. How do you feel about that?
Belichick: “I think I’ve already said that.”
Reporter: I mean specifically at quarterback.
Belichick: “I’ve answered that question twice. He’s a talented player who’s smart and works hard.”
Reporter: Have you discussed with Tim some of the ancillary stuff that comes with him – the way his training camp was covered last year with the Jets, all that different stuff and what he’ll be doing outside of football?
Belichick: “[Silence] We got a team full of players. Everybody’s got a job to do. I’m sure he’ll try to do it the best hat he can. We’ll all try to do our jobs the best that we can.”
Reporter: From a team standpoint though, I know you guys always try to eliminate distractions. Are you worried that this could cause a distraction just based on how many people are here in the middle of June?
Belichick: “Hopefully there will be more than that at the games on Sunday.”
Reporter: Do you have any objection to Tim’s kneeling down and praying after he makes a big play, “Tebowing” as it’s come to be known?
Belichick: “I think we’ve already talked enough about him. We’ll see how he does and just go from there.”
Reporter: Do you care if he does that? Because that’s kind of what he’s known for. Do you have any objection, do you…
Belichick: “I think I’ve covered it. Anything else?”
Reporter: I know Tim had a chance to work with Vinny Testaverde; I know you hold Vinny’s opinion in very high regard. Did that weigh into this decision at all?
Belichick: “I haven’t talked to Vinny in a couple of years.”
Reporter: Is Ryan Mallett entrenched as the second quarterback, or is this a situation where you see Tim coming in and competing for that spot?
Belichick: “Right now everybody’s out there just trying to learn their position, learn our assignments. We’ll let the competition go in training camp, like we usually do.”
Reporter: Have you been thinking about this signing for a while or in the last few days…?
Belichick: “We go through personnel in the league on a daily basis, the personnel department. And we meet periodically from time to time all throughout the year, all 365 days basically.”
Reporter: You had some strong words in response to a report last week saying you didn’t like Tim as a player. Were you upset something was put out there on your behalf?
Belichick: “I don’t have anything to add.”
Reporter: Have you had any conversations with Urban Meyer over the last 48 hours about this signing?
Belichick: “Whatever conversations I’ve had with anybody would be between myself and that person anyways, so I don’t think that’s anything that would be shared publicly.”
Reporter: There’s a thought out there that Tebow is a guy who maybe just needs a couple adjustments perhaps to thrive more as a quarterback. Do you see it that way? Have you studied him enough in that?
Belichick: “We’ll see how it goes.”
Reporter: How much does Josh [McDaniels]’s background with Tim help? And how big a part was he of this decision?
Belichick: “I don’t know.”
Reporter: You don’t know? He did draft him. I would think he would be part of that decision.
Belichick: “There’s a lot of people in the organization that contribute to all decisions like there usually are. I couldn’t put a percentage on it, if that’s what you’re looking for.”
Reporter: What was the general reaction – I know you don’t want to talk about specific conversations – but general reaction from Teobw’s camp to get a call from you guys to come on up?
Belichick: “I don’t know. You’d have to talk to them. You’d have to talk to them. I don’t want to represent what someone else said or thought.”
Reporter: Obviously Tebow was available for five weeks. I was wondering: You could have gotten him in earlier, perhaps, and been here for the OTAs…
Belichick: “There’s a lot of things in the offseason that the timing is different for one reason or another. There are player transactions pretty much from the first day of free agency and they will be there all the way through the end of training camp. I think each one is a little bit different and that’s the way it is.”
“OK, thank you.”