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Mike Pettine still thinks Tim Tebow can be starting NFL QB

By Tim Graham

Mike Pettine, the former New York Jets defensive coordinator, claimed Tim Tebow was beneficial to their locker room and is good enough to be an NFL starting quarterback.

As the Buffalo Bills' defensive boss, Pettine might need to game plan for Tebow on opening day. The Bills will play the New England Patriots in Ralph Wilson Stadium.

The Patriots signed Tebow this week. In case you hadn't heard.

"I certainly wouldn't spend any time thinking about it until we saw basically what their roster looked like," Pettine said after today's mandatory minicamp session at One Bills Drive. "They certainly wouldn't tip anything that he's going to do.

"So if that situation does occur, I just think you have a comprehensive plan and have enough calls up that can handle those types of situations."

Tebow is practicing as a quarterback now, but many wonder if Patriots coach Bill Belichick will shift him to tight end or H-back or some hybrid role to utilize the Heisman Trophy winner's size and running ability.

Although it seems like a moronic idea to take the ball out of Tom Brady's hands, there's also a chance Tebow could give the Patriots a Wildcat-type option.

"I coached against him with the Jets when he was at Denver, and he beat us on a two-minute drive," Pettine said. "And then I went against him in practice.

"He's a unique athlete, not the most orthodox NFL quarterback, but he finds a way to get it done. Those guys that are changeup types are the ones that give you some trouble."

Pettine was asked if he thought Tebow could be a NFL starter.

"I always did," he replied.

Does Pettine still?

"I do," Pettine said.

As for the Jets' chaotic locker room last year and Tebow's influence on it, Pettine didn't see him as a problem.

"You'll have to ask the players that, but for me, I always thought it was a positive thing," Pettine said.

"I got to know Tim in New York. I enjoyed being around him. He's a great competitor, and he's a great person."


Mike Pettine
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About Press Coverage

Tim Graham

Tim Graham

Tim Graham returned to The Buffalo News in 2011 after covering the NFL for three years at ESPN and for one year at the Palm Beach Post. Before that, the Cleveland native spent seven seasons on the Buffalo Sabres beat for The News and was president of the Boxing Writers Association of America.

@ByTimGraham |

Mark Gaughan

Mark Gaughan

Buffalo native Mark Gaughan started working at The News in 1980 and has been covering the Bills exclusively since 1992. He is a former president of the Pro Football Writers of America, and he is a member of the Pro Football Hall of Fame selection committee.

@gggaughan |

Jay Skurski

Jay Skurski

Jay Skurski joined The News in January 2009. The Lewiston native attended St. Francis High School before graduating from the University of South Florida. He writes a weekly Fantasy column in addition to his beat writing duties.

@JaySkurski |