ESPN NFL Insider Adam Schefter reports today that Florida quarterback Tim Tebow has been in New England the last two days on a pre-draft visit with the Patriots. Karen Guregian of the Boston Herald adds some detail, saying that Tebow dined in the North End with Bill Belichick and director of player personnel Nick Caserio.
What does it all mean?
The part that stands out to me is the public nature of the visit.
Taking Tebow to dinner in the North End almost has a "look at us!" twist to it. That is certainly not the way the Patriots normally do business. This is the keep-it-under-wraps team that earlier this year canceled one free-agent visit when word leaked out that the player was coming to town.
Rodney Harrison once told the story of how on his free-agent visit to town, he was taken to the no-frills Ground Round. The North End it is not.
Furthermore, pre-draft visits with prospects are usually set up to close a player's file and wrap up loose ends. Based on their friendship, which was been well documented, what possibly could Belichick not know at this point about Tebow?
So it is my opinion that the Patriots are playing the draft "game" by not just hosting Tebow, but hosting him so publicly. What better way to possibly generate interest in the 22nd overall pick in the draft – and create an advantageous situation for themselves -- should Tebow still be available?