NFL: Patriots cut quarterback Tebow

NEW YORK CITY, USA - Tim Tebow vowed to continue his pursuit of an NFL quarterback job as he was cut Saturday, August 31, by the New England Patriots as part of their pre-season roster reduction.

Like all NFL teams, the Patriots had until 6pm Eastern time (22:00 GMT) on Saturday to reduce their roster to 53 players and needed to make 12 cuts.

The move wasn't unexpected, since it was never clear just where Tebow might fit in with the Patriots, who are still led by superstar signal-caller Tom Brady.

Brady was backed-up last year by Ryan Mallett as coach Bill Belichick kept just two quarterbacks on his active roster.

On Twitter, Tebow thanked team owner Robert Kraft, Belichick and assistant coach Josh McDaniels "for giving me the opportunity to be a part of such a classy organization.

"I will remain in relentless pursuit of continuing my lifelong dream of being an NFL quarterback," he said -- although his availability had already caught the attention of USA Rugby chief executive Nigel Melville.

"One door closes, an Olympic Rugby door opens for @TimTebow - we should talk about our global game!" Melville tweeted Saturday.

Tebow had joined the Patriots in June and survived a round of cuts earlier this week.

He threw two fourth-quarter touchdown passes in a final audition on Thursday in New England's 28-20 pre-season victory over the New York Giants.

Speaking in general terms of roster moves, Belichick said Friday that decisions would come down not to single pre-season performances but would be based on "the body of work, the camp, the rate of improvement, the improvement, the ability to do the things that players are going to be asked to do at their respective positions".

Tebow has struggled in the NFL after making a big impression in his second season in 2011, when he took over as Denver's starting passer in the fourth week and sparked the Broncos to a surprise division crown and a first-round playoff upset of the Pittsburgh Steelers.

Despite his celebrity, in part for his evangelical views and a widely imitated kneeling move that became known as "Tebowing", he was traded to the New York Jets for two draft picks.

In 12 games with the Jets last season, Tebow was used in a variety of roles. He threw just eight passes and completed only six for 39 yards while running 32 times for 102 yards. He was released by the Jets in April. -