It's official on the New England Patriots twitter feed. Tight End Aaron Hernandez is gone.
The New England #Patriots have released Aaron Hernandez.
— New England Patriots (@Patriots) June 26, 2013
A statement has been released on patriots.com:
The New England Patriots issued the following statement: “A young man was murdered last week and we extend our sympathies to the family and friends who mourn his loss. Words cannot express the disappointment we feel knowing that one of our players was arrested as a result of this investigation. We realize that law enforcement investigations into this matter are ongoing. We support their efforts and respect the process. At this time, we believe this transaction is simply the right thing to do.”
This is just the Patriot Way. We don't care who you are, if you don't fit how we do things, you're gone. It's justified too. Some deserve second chances, in this case, it would appear the Patriots don't think Hernandez does. Hernandez has brought the Patriots into disrepute. He's gotten even more coverage than Tim Tebow, and not for the right reasons. That says a lot.
Though Hernandez was a playmaker and a highly respected player (he was voted at #77 on the NFL Network's Top 100 Players of 2013 list), it's not the end of the world on the field. Rob Gronkowski won't be hurt forever (probably), Jake Ballard is a good #2 TE to have, and a viable #1. We have two young WRs from the draft, and Danny Amendola. We've got 2 young running backs who are good at both rushing and passing. Oh, we've got Tom Brady too.
No one man is bigger than the team. Aaron Hernandez sticking around would be negative for the Pats, even if his production was good. He's a criminal. That's not good for the team. So he had to go.
I'm on Twitter, find me @BrendanAnnely