Hate aside, does Belichick 'like' Tim Tebow?

I completely believe New England Patriots head coach Bill Belichick when he says he doesn't "hate" Tim Tebow. Hate is a strong word to use about anybody, especially with a person as nice and grounded as the former New York Jets and Denver Broncos quarterback.

Belichick was stern this week in his rebuttal of a Yahoo! Sports report. He rarely takes the time to refute anything, true or not. So it’s notable when the tight-lipped Patriots coach publicly decries an article about the popular free-agent quarterback.

"I wouldn't get into the probability of us pursuing any free agent. Every single player has strengths and weaknesses, but regardless of that, for anyone to have represented that is the way I feel about Tim Tebow is completely untrue, baseless and irresponsible," Belichick told ESNBoston.com. "It is unfortunate that something so inaccurate was reported."

But I think Belichick slyly avoided the million-dollar question: While Belichick may not hate Tebow, does Belichick like Tebow as a player?

That is the void Belichick left unfulfilled in his response to the Yahoo! report. It's one thing not to hate Tebow. But there's plenty of evidence that Belichick isn't high on Tebow or in a rush to add Tebow to New England's roster.

For starters, Tebow has been on the market for weeks and there is zero interest from New England or any other team. Money certainly isn’t an issue, because Tebow is looking for work and would play for a low wage. There also would be zero quarterback controversy in New England because of future Hall of Famer Tom Brady.

One of Tebow’s biggest NFL supporters is also New England’s offensive coordinator: Josh McDaniels. He drafted Tebow three years ago in the first round. It’s a safe assumption that McDaniels wouldn’t mind getting his creative hands on Tebow again. But the person in charge of all personnel moves in New England is Belichick, and everything must first go by his desk.

Forget about hating Tebow. Belichick set the record straight there. But if Belichick truly likes Tebow, the Patriots' coach can prove it at any time by signing Tebow to a contract for next to nothing.