Patriots release quarterback Tim Tebow

Backup quarterback Tim Tebow was cut by the New England Patriots on Saturday.
Andrew Weber | USA TODAY Sports
Backup quarterback Tim Tebow was cut by the New England Patriots on Saturday.
Posted Aug. 31, 2013, at 11:21 a.m.
Last modified Aug. 31, 2013, at 1:36 p.m.

The New England Patriots released quarterback Tim Tebow on Saturday but will keep tight end Rob Gronkowski on their 53-man roster, according to multiple reports.

The Patriots announced that they released punter Zoltan Mesko and defensive tackles Jermaine Cunningham and Marcus Forston.

Tebow completed 11 of 30 passes for 145 yards with two touchdowns and two interceptions in the preseason.

Tebow was competing for the Patriots’ backup spot to Tom Brady, but did not provide a serious enough challenge to Ryan Mallett for the job.

In Thursday’s preseason finale against the New York Giants, Tebow completed 6 of 11 passes for 91 yards with two touchdowns and one interception.

Tebow was asked after the game about his chances of making the team.

“I’m not sure,” he said. “I don’t make those decisions.”

Tebow, 25, signed with the Patriots in June, two months after being released by the New York Jets.

He played in 12 games for the Jets last season and completed 6 of 8 passes for 39 yards.

In 2011, Tebow had a 7-4 record in 11 regular-season starts for the Denver Broncos. He completed 46.5 percent of his passes and rushed for 660 yards.

The Broncos beat the Pittsburgh Steelers in a first-round playoff game that season when Tebow threw a game-winning touchdown pass in overtime. Denver lost in the next round to New England 45-10, when Tebow completed just 9 of 26 passes and rushed for 13 yards.

Gronkowski is not expected to be ready for at least the first two games of the regular season, but will not be placed on the reserve/physically unable to perform list.

The team believes that Gronkowski has made enough progress in recovering from forearm and back surgeries that he should be able to play within the six first weeks of the regular season, according to ESPNBoston.com.

The Patriots open the season Sept. 8 against the Buffalo Bills and then play the New York Jets on Sept. 12.

If the team placed Gronkowski on the reserve/physically unable to perform list, he would not be eligible to practice or play for the first six weeks of the season.

The Patriots also have veteran Michael Hoomanawanui and rookie Zach Sudfeld at tight end.

Mesko lost the punter job to rookie Ryan Allen, the only player in NCAA history to win the Ray Guy Award twice. Mesko was due to make $1.323 million this season, which could have played a factor in the decision.

Cunningham was a second-round pick in the 2010 draft, but only recorded 3.5 sacks in three seasons.

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