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Tebow shows diplomacy still his strong suit

The SportsXchange

During and after his first full-squad training camp workout with the New England Patriots Friday, quarterback Tim Tebow handled himself exactly as anyone familiar with him might expect.

On the field he took snaps as the No. 3 quarterback and showed that elongated, slow delivery that has been oft-criticized when he was with the Denver Broncos and New York Jets. He also lined up with receivers and running backs and caught some passes.

After practice, he was Mr. Diplomacy when confronted with questions about former college teammate and former Patriots tight end Aaron Hernandez, who is accused of murdering a semi-pro football player.

"It was heartbreaking, it was sad," Tebow said in his first public comments about the murder. "And we've been advised not to comment on an ongoing legal investigation. So I'm not going to comment further. But it's just heartbreaking and sad. All my prayers go out to the families that were involved.

"I understand why you have to ask all the questions," he said in response to a question from NFL Network's Albert Breer. "That's part of doing your job. Mine is listening to instructions. We've been told not to talk about it."

While everybody on the Patriot team is trying to move beyond discussing Hernandez, Tebow is a unique target for questions because not only was he a roommate of Hernandez at Florida, he was also present during a bar skirmish involving the then 17-year-old Hernandez.

Tebow tried to get Hernandez to leave the bar, but failed, and the tight end punched the restaurant manager, puncturing his ear drum.

Tebow did answer one question Friday about former Florida coach Urban Meyer, who is now with Ohio State. There have been remarks that Meyer ran an outlaw program at Florida.

"I feel like Urban Meyer is a great man, one of the best that I've had the privilege of being around," Tebow said.

"He's someone who not only tries to win football games, he's someone who tries to invest in young men's lives and help young men grow. He cares very deeply about that. That's one of the reasons why I'm so close to him, and I'm proud of him."

As for his role with the Patriots, Tebow previously said that his preference is to play quarterback despite suggestions that his inconsistency as a passer might mean he should use his superior athletic abilities at some other position.

After Tebow threw passes as a quarterback and caught passes in other drills Friday, coach Bill Belichick was non-committal, which is his usual position on most questions involving personnel on this team anyway.

"I think we'll use Tim wherever we feel like is best for the team," Belichick said. "I know that's what he's committed to doing as well, whatever that is."

Ever the dutiful team player, Tebow echoed the coach.

"I just do whatever I'm told," he said. "I'll work as hard as I possibly can to do the best job that I can with whatever I'm asked to do."
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