- Rich Cimini, ESPN Staff Writer
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So much for Tim Tebow's powers of persuasion.
His former college teammate, Olympic speedster Jeff Demps, has decided to sign with the Patriots, as confirmed by Mike Reiss of ESPNBoston.com. It was first reported by Fox 13 in Tampa.
The Jets were "very interested" in Demps, his agent said Thursday. They saw Demps as the home-run hitter they lack on offense. GM Mike Tannenbaum picked Tebow's brain on Demps, with Tebow telling reporters that he planned to give Demps a call. They played together for two years at Florida, winning a national championship.
According to Reiss, the Patriots showed interest in Demps before the draft, which may have given them an edge. Bill Belichick loves those Gators. Demps ended up skipping the pre-draft process to concentrate on the Olympics.
Naturally, Demps is intriguing because of his world-class speed (he was a silver medalist on the 4x100 relay team), but we're not talking about another Emmitt Smith here. He would've been only a seventh-round pick, according to one AFC personnel executive. He's small (5-foot-8, 184 pounds), never carried the ball more than 100 times in a season and possesses only straight-line speed. No doubt, his Olympic link increased his profile.
But, of course, Belichick will be hailed as a genius for signing Demps. If the Jets had landed him, they would've been ripped for signing another gimmick player.