FOXBORO, Mass. — Newly-appointed Broncos starting quarterback Tim Tebow has thrown passes to a pair of Patriots. Both of them believe Tebow will succeed as the front man in Denver.
Tight end Aaron Hernandez was Tebow's teammate for three seasons at Florida, where they won two national championships together. Tebow was also the 2007 Heisman Trophy winner.
"Tim is a great player," Hernandez said. "I loved him in college. He's a playmaker. He's going to make plays. Hopefully, he can go out there this next week and make some plays, and hopefully he can succeed because I feel like he's going to be a great quarterback."
Tight end Dan Gronkowski spent the 2010 regular season—Tebow's rookie year—and the 2011 training camp with the Broncos, so he has gotten a first-hand look at the quarterback’s transition into the pro game.
"I’m happy for him, and hopefully he can get that team going a little," Gronkowski said. "He's a hardworking guy. No matter what he does in life, he's going to be successful at it. We’ll see if he can get the team going. He's a player that guys look up to."
Patriots linebackers Brandon Spikes and Jermaine Cunningham also played with Tebow at Florida, and safety Josh Barrett spent a portion of the 2010 season with him in Denver.
Tebow has been one of the most decorated collegiate players in history, and his playing style has been scrutinized as much as any quarterback in recent memory. His popularity has worked both for and against him, as he's got his share of apologists and critics.
His teammates, both current and former, appear to love him, though, and they're rooting for him to succeed.
"He's a winner, and you want someone like him in your huddle because he's going to know everything," Hernandez said. "People may not like his throwing technique, but he's a winner and he's going to find ways to make the plays to get that first down, whether he has to run or throw it. And he can make things happen."