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August 5, 2013

Tebow pumping life into Pats preseason

FOXBORO — As a pro football fan, can you ask for anything more than an August that matters?

That is the least that Bill Belichick could do after what has been a tumultuous offseason surrounding the New England Patriots.

And the coach has done that. But it’s not the rejuvenated defense folks want to glimpse at or the reloading receiver corps.

Tim Tebow has Gillette Stadium, or at least the outer grounds here, buzzing. The countdown to Friday night’s preseason opener in Philadelphia has begun.

Just a year ago, New Englanders mocked the New York Jets for allowing Tebow’s lengthy shadow to hover over the quarterback joke that has grown into Mark Sanchez.

Now, Tebow has been embraced, not just by the fans but by the franchise itself. Tebow has drawn his own personal assistant, thanks to Belichick bringing 14-year veteran coach Brian Daboll back to the fold. The two have been inseparable at camp.

“He’s been great,” said Tebow. “He’s a very bright football mind, offensive mind.”

Belichick has been mum on Tebow. Despite the former Florida legend owning an 8-6 record as a pro starter — all in Denver — he won’t gain a leg up on Ryan Mallett as Tom Brady’s backup unless he earns it.

For Tebow, who lived through a weekly media circus as Sanchez, Rex Ryan and the Jets imploded again last year, the Patriots offer refreshing change.

His smile is back. His drive to disprove the naysayers — those who ignore the fact that he took a bad Denver team into the playoffs just as far in 2011 as Peyton Manning did a year later — is back. And Tebow looks pretty darn good.

“I’m feeling good, working hard, trying to get better every single day,” said Tebow, reciting the Patriots’ code to a tee. “That’s our goal.”

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