Many times, when a player gets in trouble with the law, his team will say it wants to let the legal system run its course. The better the player, the more patient the team generally is.
There aren't many players in the NFL more talented than tight end Aaron Hernandez, but the New England Patriots didn't even wait for the charges to become public before releasing Hernandez, who was arrested on Wednesday morning.
The Patriots released a statement on the matter:
“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.”
Hernandez was an associate of Odin Lloyd, who was found dead near the player's house on June 17. When Hernandez showed up at the Patriots' facility last week, followed by multiple media helicopters, he was reportedly told to leave.
The news that the Patriots had released Hernandez came about 90 minutes after he was arrested at his home. It's quite a stand by a team that rarely tolerates off-field distractions.
Hernandez was a key piece of the Patriots' offense, a talented tight end who the team uses in multiple roles in the offense. New England had already lost receivers Wes Welker and Brandon Lloyd from last year's team, and tight end Rob Gronkowski has dealt with multiple surgeries this offseason. Hernandez was supposed to be a focal point of the offense with those losses and Gronkowski's uncertain health. He had 175 catches for 1,956 yards and 18 touchdowns in 38 games over his three Patriots seasons.
The Patriots watched the situation unfold like everyone else over the last two weeks, and had time to prepare their next step. They decided that despite his immense talent and importance to the offense, Hernandez wasn't worth keeping around anymore. It took them less than two hours after Hernandez's arrest to make it official.
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