A Heisman Trophy, a riveting playoff game, an international following.
Tim Tebow won all that in his football career.
On Saturday, he lost his third NFL job in 18 months. It might be hard to find another.
The quarterback with two big problems — throwing the ball and reading defenses — was cut by the New England Patriots less than 12 weeks after they signed him and just five days before the season.
But, as Tebow sees it, this long journey is not over.
“I will remain in relentless pursuit of continuing my lifelong dream of being an NFL quarterback,” he tweeted.
Coach Bill Belichick gave the player whose profile was higher than his production what may have been his last chance when he signed him June 11, the day the Patriots’ three-day minicamp began. And Tebow is grateful.
He thanked Belichick, offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels and owner Robert Kraft, who said last Tuesday he was “rooting” for Tebow but would let Belichick make the decision.
In his tweet, Tebow thanked the “entire Patriots organization for giving me the opportunity to be a part of such a classy organization.”
The Patriots cut 12 other players and put safety Adrian Wilson on injured reserve. That left them with 51 players, two below the regular-season limit they had to reach by 6 p.m. EDT.
Belichick didn’t comment on Tebow’s release.
But NFL.com analyst and former NFL executive Gil Brandt wasn’t surprised.
“He has had a great career and I think it’s probably time for him to admit that he just wasn’t right up to NFL standards,” Brandt said. “I’m sure that whatever he does in life he’ll be a huge success.
Tebow was surely that at Florida, where he won the Heisman and two national championships while surrounded by talented teammates.
He was a success with Denver, for one season, when he went 7-1 in his first eight starts in 2011 then threw an 80-yard touchdown pass to Demaryius Thomas on the first play of overtime to give the Broncos a 29-23 playoff win over the Pittsburgh Steelers.
Tebow knelt on one knee — an expression of faith known as Tebowing — in the end zone.
But then a career of accomplishment descended into adversity.
Tebow led the Broncos into Foxborough the next weekend and lost 45-10 while completing barely a third of his passes.
He was traded to the New York Jets the following March and languished on the bench while coach Rex Ryan ignored fans’ calls for Tebow to replace a struggling Mark Sanchez. Tebow threw just eight passes, ran only 32 times and was cut last April 29.
For six weeks no team wanted him until the Patriots signed him to a low-risk, two-year contract with no guaranteed money. One person with knowledge of the deal told The Associated Press that Tebow would make the veteran’s minimum salary, $630,000 in 2013, with incentives.
At least he wouldn’t be in the center ring of a media circus that surrounded him in New York, not with Belichick’s tight rein on players’ interactions with reporters.
If anyone could turn him into a good NFL quarterback, it seemed, it would be Belichick. And McDaniels was a booster of Tebow, drafting him in the first round in 2010 as Denver’s head coach. There even was speculation that Belichick might find other positions for the mobile Tebow to play, but he worked out only with the quarterbacks.
And his passes still bounced at receivers’ feet and flew over their heads.