The team led by the NFL’s smartest head coach, the New England Patriots, has decided to take a flyer on free-agent quarterback Tim Tebow, ESPN reports. Tebow, a highly athletic Heisman Trophy-winning quarterback with great running ability and worrisome flaws in his passing motion, had surprising success in 2011 as quarterback of the Denver Broncos, leading the team to a shocking first-round playoff victory over the heavily favored Pittsburgh Steelers. He has also been the center of controversy because of his high-profile Christianity and unconventional playing style.

That led to a lost season last year when the New York Jets signed him and then hardly ever allowed him onto the field.

Patriots coach Bill Belichick,winner of three Super Bowls, has complimented Tebow in the past, citing his “versatility, intelligence, and character,” as the ESPN story put it. Belichick has a history of making great players out of smart, tough athletes whom other organizations considered fatally flawed. Tebow fits that mold perfectly, and if anybody can make him into a consistent NFL quarterback, Belichick is it. Belichick is also a master at deflecting controversy, a talent which will surely come in very handy in this instance. The Patriots’ current offensive coordinator, Josh McDaniel, was instrumental in originally drafting Tebow at Denver when McDaniel was head coach of the Broncos.

Tebow will be completing with Ryan Mallett for the number 2 quarterback position with the Patriots. I would be far from shocked, however, to see Belichick find innovative ways to use Tebow’s abilities. It should be quite an interesting summer in the Patriots’ camp.