Tim Tebow's future in the NFL and as a member of the New England Patriots got murkier after the quarterback didn't receive a snap during Thursday's preseason loss.
Tebow, who's bidding to become the team's third-string quarterback, watched from the sidelines as Tom Brady and Ryan Mallett split the playing time in the Detroit Lions' 40-9 win at Ford Field.
"You prepare yourself and be ready for whenever your number is called. There's nothing else to it," Tebow told reporters after the game, according to ESPN.
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Disappointed Lions fans booed Pats coach Bill Belichick when he ignored their chants of "Tebow! Tebow! Tebow!" with about 10 minutes left in the game. The notoriously tight-lipped coach didn't elaborate on why he didn't play the former Heisman Trophy winner.
"Because we only played two quarterbacks," Belichick said.
Belichick offered a reminder that players are evaluated throughout training camp, rather than one game, but it still isn't a positive development for Tebow.
The 26-year-old last played Aug. 16 against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, but completed just 1 of 7 passes for negative-1 yard, and threw an interception. He rushed for 30 yards. If Tebow survives the Aug. 27 cutdown day, when NFL teams have to cut their rosters down to 75 players, he'll have one more chance to make the team — the Aug. 29 preseason finale against the New York Giants.
Brady likely won't play much in that game as he looks to avoid injury, which may open more time for Tebow and Mallett. Tebow said he's not changing his approach between now and then.
"You just prepare, and whatever you're asked to do, you do at 100 percent, with everything you have," he said, according to ESPN. "You want everything to go well, but it's not. There are going to be ups and downs. That's what life is, and you just have to handle them as best as you possibly can."
Regardless of his status, Tebow said he was "blessed," and was happy to be with the Patriots. He also expressed a willingness to do anything the team asked, including play a different position.
The former Florida Gator has become a polarizing NFL figure since being drafted in the first round by the Denver Broncos. He led Denver to the playoffs in 2011 — and beat the Pittsburgh Steelers in the opening round — but was dealt to the New York Jets when the Broncos signed Peyton Manning.
He barely played for the Jets, was released April 29 after one season, and signed with the Patriots. Now, his time in New England may be coming to an end.
For his part, Tebow is simply putting the uniform on every day.
"I've just got to go out there and play as hard as I can and try to improve," he told the Associated Press Wednesday
. "And I'll let a lot of smarter people grade us and judge us."
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