Aaron Hernandez looking set to return vs Seattle

I've reached a point where I would be surprised if Hernandez did not play against Seattle. Two weeks ago he was walking around without a limp, last week he started practicing, this week he practiced in full and now he's packing for Seattle. It seems like the stars are aligned a little here.

Really the only strength I see on this Seattle team is their defense, so the Patriots will need all their weapons. Hernandez is arguably their best one - the swiss army knife of the team. He can go out wide, stay in to block or run out of the backfield. With a defense like this, they'll need to create mismatches and exploit them.

Hernandez was not present at the start of Friday's practice.

"We'll just have to see how it goes here," Belichick said Friday morning. "He practiced late last week and did some things yesterday and Wednesday. We'll see how he is today and see if it set him back, or didn't set him back, and how that went. We'll have the day to evaluate it on Saturday, and we'll see where we're at on Sunday. It could be a game-time decision."

At that point of Belichick's news conference, it sounded as if Hernandez would be, at the least, making the trip to Seattle with the team Friday.

But Belichick seemed to catch himself when he added this: "Maybe we'll know sooner, depending on what information we have today, before we leave. We'll just have to see how it goes. I don't know."

Reporters noted Friday that Hernandez had a travel bag in front of his locker. That doesn't necessarily mean that he will travel, as there have been times in the past when a player has had a travel bag in front of his locker and not made the trip.