But geting a check of 12.5 mil and then donating 50K to charity is a nice gesture no doubt, but relatively small. It is the same as giving 50 bucks to Red Cross after getting $12,500 bonus. No one will ever yell "Oh, he is a nicest person I ever met" after this donation.
Aaron Hernandez has been an important part of the New England offense since he was drafted out of Florida in 2010. (AP)
1. In the wake of Hernandez’ connection to the recent murder of Odin Lloyd, it’s important to remember that even if the Patriots’ tight end is completely exonerated, he will almost certainly face discipline from the NFL. The sexual assault case involving Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger immediately comes to mind -- even though Roethlisberger was not charged in the incident, he was still suspended six games by the league, a ban that was later reduced to four years after on appeal. For more on what Hernandez could face from a legal perspective, read this comprehensive breakdown from Sports Illustrated legal expert (and friend of IIWII) Michael McCann.
2. Regardless of what happens from a legal perspective to Hernandez, it now seems evident that the Patriots will be without Hernandez and Gronkowski, at least for an extended stretch to start the season. As we have written on several occasions, the bulk of the snaps without either one on the field would likely go to Jake Ballard, provided that Ballard is healthy. Over the course of the spring practice sessions, Ballard had his share of positive moments, but at the same time, it was clear that he’s still not all the way back from the knee injury that forced him to spend all of the 2012 season on the shelf. In addition, the Patriots have veterans Michael Hoomanawanui and Daniel Fells on the roster, as well as undrafted free agent Zach Suffeld (who had a very impressive spring), all of whom will figure into the mix. (There’s no doubt none of them have the sort of seismic impact that Gronkowski or Hernandez have, but they could serve as placeholders for a stretch until one or both of the tight ends can return.)
At the same time -- and I’m not quite sure I can even believe I’m typing this -- if they feel like they need to add another body at tight end, there are several intriguing veteran free agents who are still actually on the open market who could be available to the Patriots. It’s a group that includes former New Englanders Daniel Graham and Visanthe Shiancoe, and it’s reasonable to think that the acclimation process for the two of them back into the Patriots’ system would be relatively quick. In addition, longtime Patriots’ nemesis Dallas Clark is still out there, and it’s important to remember that the Patriots thought enough of him to bring him in for a look-see last offseason. Todd Heap is also still out on the open market.
3. With no Hernandez, there will be a domino effect when it comes to the passing game, particularly in the slot. Hernandez, who remains a tight end in name only, spent a ton of time in the slot last season, and it’s reasonable to think that he would be used in 2013 to take some pressure off the recently-acquired Danny Amendola. In much the same fashion no Hernandez would likely present playing time opportunities for the rest of the tight ends, it will be interesting to see how the Patriots create depth in the slot behind Amendola -- on the surface, it would seem that Julian Edelman would be the most likely beneficiary. Edelman, who projects as the backup to Amendola in the slot in the New England offense, will see an uptick in snaps if Hernandez isn’t in the lineup. (And we're not even going to get into Amendola's much-discussed durability issues, at least at this point.)
4. While offseason craziness was fairly commonplace with the old franchise (youngsters can Google names Clive Rush and Irving Fryar to get a sense of what things used to be like in New England), this has to be remembered as the most eventful offseason of the Bill Belichick Era. (Off the top of my head, the only one that comes close is 2000, when the Patriots were able to pry Belichick loose from the Jets.)
Going back to March, there’s been the free-agent drama involving Wes Welker (and the subsequent signing of Danny Amendola); the decision to part with Brandon Lloyd; the nearly lethal hot-air ballooning accident involving wide receiver Donte Stallworth; will-they-or-won’t-they courtship of Emmanuel Sanders; the legal drama surrounding cornerback Alfonzo Dennard; the draft (and the major swap of picks with the Vikings); Gronkowski's five (!) offseason surgeries; the return of the beef between owner Robert Kraft and Russian President Vladimir Putin; as well as the addition of Tim Tebow, and now the Hernandez case. And we’re still just over a month away from training camp.
5. In the end, it’s difficult to reconcile the image of Hernandez as someone who was responsible -- even peripherally -- with such an awful incident, particularly in the wake of how he acted shortly after landing a new contract from the Patriots. By his own admission, Hernandez struggled growing up (his father passed when he was 16), finding focus and purpose on the football field. But after receiving a seven-year, $41 million deal from the Patriots last August, he got emotional when talking with reporters about what the deal meant to him and his family. In addition, he professed thanks for the faith that owner Robert Kraft showed in him. (Hernandez marked the occasion with a very public $50,000 donation to the Myra Kraft Giving Back Fund.)
“I just think he’s a super player and really a first-class guy,” Kraft said. “Some people might see all the tattoos on him and think … maybe 10 years ago I was in that class, [but] this guy’s a good guy. So I’m excited and we’ve made a big commitment to him.”
“I have a daughter on the way, I have a family that I love. It’s just knowing that they’re going to be OK,” Hernandez told reporters. “I was happy playing for my 250 [thousand], 400,000 [dollars a year]. Knowing that my kids and my family will be able to have a good life, go to college, it’s just an honor that he did that for me. He gave me this opportunity. The $50,000 to help his foundation, obviously is basically like saying, ‘Thank you,’ and it means a lot to me.
“He didn’t need to give me the amount that he gave me, and knowing that he thinks I deserve that, he trusts me to make the right decisions, and it means a lot. It means he trusts my character, and the person I am, which means a lot, cause my mother, that’s how she wanted to raise me. They have to trust you to give you that money. I just feel a lot of respect, and I owe it back to him.”
Only time will tell if that trust from Kraft (not to mention the rest of the franchise) has been shaken, and if so, how Hernandez plans to try and win it back.
Kraft went on to say, '' I don't believe he will be playing rock hockey in the big house."
Slikmojet has been a reliable poster so don't be so quick to mock him
Why is this so hard to understand?
Doesn't matter; if everyone else wants to lawyer up, so be it. If Maine doesn't want to because he trusts his own innocence. So be it. Some may call it naive or idiotic, but some people want to choose to live their lives where they believe justice is done. Perhaps because Maine chooses this, and believes it, is why it would never happen to him in the first place.
Again, I have been questioned a couple of times in my life; not about anything major, but I have no issue in talking with police and being straight-forward. BUT, if something did happen where it could appear that I am guilty, I am quite sure I would hire a lawyer just for the sake of helping me through the situation.
Everyone also keeps talking about how 'innocent' people go to jail, and show the stats for it. I would like to see how many 'innocent' people go to jail for a crime they do not commit, but have a long list of priors. Sometimes, you reap what you sow
Is this a joke from the WEEI reporter?
So at this moment, Pats' people in Foxboro still "trust" that they know what Hernandez is really like as a person? That trust hasn't been "shaken" at all?Only time will tell if that trust from Kraft (not to mention the rest of the franchise) has been shaken, and if so, how Hernandez plans to try and win it back.
Mike & Mike on ESPN this morning seemed to almost consciously not want to mention Hernandez, much less cover it.
ESPN can be a serious joke some days.