It's only fitting.

If only one player is going to even address the Aaron Hernandez situation, it's going to be Tom Brady, the leader of the team.

Brady sat down with Sports Illustrated/MMQB's Peter King recently and gave his first public thoughts on the topic.

I’ve seen a lot of things over 13 years, and what I have learned is that mental toughness and putting aside personal agendas for what’s in the best interest of the team matters most. My job is to play quarterback, and I’m going to do that the best way I know how, because I owe that to my teammates regardless of who is out there on the field with me. I have moved on. I’m focusing on the great teammates I have who are committed to helping us win games. The only thing I care about is winning. Nothing is going to ever get in the way of that goal. I’m just excited to report to camp and see what we can accomplish as a team. The fate of our season will be determined by the players in our locker room—nothing else.

Of course, Aaron Hernandez was charged with the first degree murder of his "friend" Odin Lloyd just a month ago. He was released from the team just a half hour after his arrest. It's caused a swelling of controversy around the Patriots organization, as questions have been raised as to how the organization could give this same man a contract extension the year before.

More than that, it puts the Patriots at a disadvantage on the field as well. Brady is missing all of his top targets from the prior season except for Rob Gronkowski, who's recovering from back and arm surgery and could miss the first six weeks of the season.

Has it phased Brady? We'll never know publicly of course. From an on-field perspective this is nothing new for Brady. He has dealt, and succeeded, with worse.

Additionally, Brady comments on his friendship with Peyton Manning and his desire to play past 40. It was interesting to note that Brady stated he planned to be playing whether it was for the Patriots or not.

Whether the team wants me, or whether something [like an injury] happens tomorrow to stop me from playing, that remains to be seen. But my training, my nutrition, the bodywork I do—I can’t see not playing at any time in the near future. There’s nothing I love to do more. Whether the New England Patriots want me, or anyone wants me, I know I want to play for quite a while.

It seems to indicate that a divorce might be coming sometime in the distant future. Belichick has never been sentimental about players. If he is about anyone though, I would have to bet that it would be Tom Brady. I'd hope so anyway.

Michael Saver 7/23/2013 03:11:00 PM Edit

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