Patriots TE Aaron Hernandez Arrested, Released; Leaving QB Tom Brady High and Dry


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The New England Patriots are receiving attention for all the wrong reasons at this moment in time thanks to one of the craziest developments in sports in 2013. Tight End Aaron Hernandez, once thought to be a non-suspect in the murder case of Odin Lloyd, was arrested at his home on Wednesday morning in front of the national media, not even given a chance to put his own shirt on before he was put in cuffs.

The Patriots wasted no time getting Hernandez released from the team. It was about an hour later when I first heard the news that Hernandez was cut by New England after my co-workers and I stood astonished at the pictures of Hernandez being taken away in a police car.

While the events of Hernandez’s involvement in this case are pretty well-documented to this point, what’s really being overlooked in the mess of everything is the fact that Tom Brady is being left high and dry to star the 2013 season. Yes, the Patriots made a solid move going to get former Rams receiver Danny Amendola, as well as using a high draft pick on former Marshall receiver Aaron Dobson. But the fact remains, Tom Brady will not have any of Wes Welker, Aaron Hernandez, and likely Rob Gronkowski this year, or at least to the start of this year (in Gronk’s case).

The Patriots have been left with a mess on their hands, but they are doing their best to get rid of all the distractions as soon as can be.

Hernandez is done as a Patriot, and likely won’t be playing in the NFL in 2013. Maybe ever again. Wouldn’t that be crazy, to think we’ve seen the last of Hernandez in an NFL uniform?

Anyway, this situation went form bad to worse to miserable with the developments Wednesday morning. The Patriots are looking at former Giants TE Jake Ballard–who was injured the entire 2012 season–to step in as the #1 guy in all likelihood at a position where they seemingly revolutionized the NFL. The WR/TE position went from being arguably the Patriots’ greatest strength to its greatest weakness.

Will Tim Tebow play TE? What a crazy sight that would be, since  Tebow has never caught passes or blocked anyone in his life, pretty much. I highly doubt it, but you never know.

This is simply a crazy situation that I’m trying to wrap my head around. I was listening to Colin Cowherd on the way home for lunch, and he opined that the Patriots are a nine or 10 win team at this point. I tend to agree. Tom Brady will find ways to get people the ball, but whom he will be getting the ball to is a different story entirely. Over 75 percent of the Patriots’ passing game last year is either gone or injured, but shockingly enough, the Patriots haven’t panicked. In fact, they took matters into their own hands by releasing Hernandez, which was the correct move.

They obviously know something the public doesn’t know. The Patriots are a major organization, and Robert Kraft isn’t going to mess around with this kind of off-field issue. He washed his hands of it, and now the focus becomes solely on Hernandez.

But that doesn’t take away from the fact that the product the Patriots put out on the field to start the 2013 NFL season is going to be so new it might just blow people away. Maybe the Pats will turn more to the running game. Can they afford that? Tom Brady is still playing at a Super Bowl level, but he’s going to really need to elevate his game to get the Patriots back into the playoffs and contending for a title with the developments this offseason.

What a crazy year in New England.