Unless you’ve been hiding out in the deep recesses of the Malaysian jungle for the past week, you’ve heard about Aaron Hernandez’s fall from grace.
One half of the Patriots formerly legendary tight end team along with Rob Gronkowski, Hernandez was charged for the murder of Odin Lloyd on June 17.
Soon after the news broke, the Patriots released Hernandez, and he was arrested. Though not actually responsible, the Patriots have made moves to amend the wrongs done by their former employee.
They have made an unprecedented decision to allow fans to exchange Hernandez jerseys for another player’s on July 6 and 7.
Hopefully that doesn’t apply to anyone in Colorado; we’re die hard Broncos fans, right? Still, it was an impressive, and very pricey choice, made to help heal the fans in New England.
The Hernandez scandal came after an already rocky off season for the perennial stars.
Wes Welker came to us via free agency, they released wide receiver Brandon Lloyd, Gronkowski, Hernandez’s partner in crime, has had five medical procedures between his broken forearm and his back, and cornerback Alfonso Dennard faced 30 days in prison.
Plus of course, Robert Kraft’s infamous “stolen” Super Bowl ring, at the hands of Vladimir Putin.
The only upside to the Pats off season was the acquisition of Tim Tebow. Though the probability of him actually playing over a healthy Tom Brady is nonexistent, he will bring some positive energy to a deflated team.
So what do all of these mishaps mean for Bill Belichick and crew? Certainly a lot of scrutiny from the media, probably a spike in training camp attendance, and a lot more Gronk jerseys peppering Gillette stadium – but in terms of performance? Not likely a huge difference.
The annual Manning-Brady showdown (Nov. 24 people!) will be just as bloody as ever, and the Pat’s record probably won’t dip below 11 wins.
This is the team that went 16-0 the year after the Spygate scandal rocked the franchise. Much as I dislike them, Belichick and Brady run a tight ship between the two of them; a promising tight-end-turned-murderer won’t be what stands in the way of a fourth Super Bowl ring. Another bad Brady haircut might do the trick though.
As to why Hernandez chose to kill somebody, just shy of a year after signing a $41.1 million contract – perhaps he felt that with Ray Lewis’ retiring, the league needed another convicted murderer out on the field. At this point however, Hernandez’s prospects of ever catching a football again are looking grim.
It’s unfortunate that instead of the sporting world reporting on the upright athletes who are excelling (like the Blackhawks), Hernandez’s face plasters the newspapers and magazines.
That remote jungle in Malaysia is looking better and better.