Patriots cut Tim Tebow

Tim Tebow (File)
Tim Tebow (File)

Norton - The NFL future of Tim Tebow was a hot topic Saturday amid reports the New England Patriots had cut the quarterback as part of their pre-season roster reduction.

ESPN, citing unnamed sources, was the first to report the news. The Patriots did not immediately confirm it, and had until midnight SA time to confirm the 12 cuts they still had to make to reduce their roster to 53 players.

It was never clear just where Tebow might fit in with the Patriots, still led by superstar signal-caller Tom Brady. Brady was backed up last year by Ryan Mallett as coach Bill Belichick kept just two quarterbacks on his active roster.

Tebow joined the Patriots in June and survived the first round of cuts earlier this week.

He threw two fourth-quarter touchdown passes in a final audition on Thursday in New England's 28-20 pre-season victory over the New York Giants.

Speaking in general terms of roster moves, Belichick said Friday that decisions would come down not to single pre-season performances but would be based on "the body of work, the camp, the rate of improvement, the improvement, the ability to do the things that players are going to be asked to do at their respective positions".

Tebow has struggled in the NFL after making a big impression in his second season in 2011, when he took over as Denver's starting passer in the fourth week and sparked the Broncos to a surprise division crown and a first-round playoff upset of the Pittsburgh Steelers.

Despite his celebrity, in part for his evangelical views and a widely imitated kneeling move that became known as "Tebowing", he was traded to the New York Jets for two draft picks.

In 12 games with the Jets last season, Tebow was used in a variety of roles. He threw just eight passes and completed only six for 39 yards while running 32 times for 102 yards. He was released by the Jets in April.

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