Asked by a reporter if Tebow will be used exclusively at quarterback, Belichick was decidedly vague.
"I think that we'll use Tim wherever we feel like he's best for the team," Belichick said, "and I know that's what he's committed to doing as well. Whatever that is."
That invariably sparked chatter that Tebow will be used as something other than a camp arm behind Tom Brady and Ryan Mallett. The release of Hernandez stripped the Patriots of a versatile chess piece, but notions of Tebow taking the tight end's place are premature.
The Patriots will find a way to pair Rob Gronkowski with Michael Hoomanawanui and some combination of Jake Ballard and dark horse Zach Sudfeld. Ballard's speed is shot, but the Patriots have the tools to get by -- and don't rule out a trade before Week 1.
Belichick sounded pleased with Timmy -- "He's got a great work ethic. Great," he said -- and we don't doubt Tebow could see subpackage work. He could be employed as a pass-catching H-back-type in rare situations, sure, but that won't include pulling Brady off the field or turning Tebow into a starting NFL tight end.
UPDATE: After we posted this, our friend Albert Breer, on the scene at practice, noted Tebow just "caught a ball from Mallett in a weird new drill I've never seen before," and he's "still catching passes ... Lining up with backs and receivers in a (non-contact) tackling drill." Sigh. Belichick might have something up his sleeve. We can't wait to find out.
Follow Marc Sessler on Twitter @MarcSesslerNFL.