Before Tim Tebow was drafted by the Denver Broncos in 2010, New England Patriots coach Bill Belichick told the Boston Herald, "I don't know what a team would do with him, but I think he's a real interesting player."
Three years later, Belichick and the Patriots face that question head-on: What to do with Tebow?
Belichick didn't bring on the unorthodox quarterback for giggles alone. Even if he's just kicking the tires, the Patriots coach doesn't exhibit a history of rash movements. NFL.com's Ian Rapoport told "NFL AM" on Tuesday that New England's coaching staff -- beginning with offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels, who drafted Tebow with the Broncos -- has a plan.
"Bill Belichick takes advice from a lot of people," Rapoport said. "He talks to a ton of people before he makes any move, let alone an important move, so I'm sure McDaniels did have some ideas. I'm sure he has some thought in his head about how to use him, but if it doesn't work out, it's not going to be like, 'Well, this is Josh's guy.' (Belichick's) just going to, essentially, discard him like they've done the rest of the guys Josh brought in that didn't work out."
"Remember, (Mallett's) name has been kind of bandied about in trade rumors," RapSheet said.
"There was some talk of the Browns liking him, maybe some other teams who wanted kind of a backup/potential starter. ... So maybe what (Mallett) does is come into the preseason, show up, show the improvement that the Patriots hope he's made, and then, if they do trade him ... maybe Tim Tebow will then be a serviceable backup for Tom Brady and the Patriots."
Tebow's personal quarterback whisperer, Chris Weinke, says his student is "locked and loaded." Of course, hyperbole from these one-on-one signal-caller tutors has become the rule.
The New York Jets lost patience trying to turn Tebow into a weekly contributor, but Belichick would love nothing more than to prove (again) that he can do what Rex Ryan can't.
This time, it won't be easy.
Follow Marc Sessler on Twitter @MarcSesslerNFL.