Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Analysis of Aaron Hernandez Release

by Hal Bent

New England Patriots Tight End Aaron Hernandez was arrested Tuesday morning, and subsequently released by the team later that morning. This surprising development was not expected, but in retrospect makes sense.  Check out my Quick Analysis at MusketFire.com for additional details, as well as further updates from the rest of the staff at MusketFire. It is a great group of writers that I'm lucky to be a part of.

Personally, I was expecting a suspension after the arrest, not an outright release of Hernandez. However, the Patriots moved quickly and obviously had a plan in place to address the arrest when it finally took place.  The move allows the team to re-affirm the values of the franchise by showing that the team will not tolerate any player, no matter their contract or playing ability, reflecting negatively or embarrassing the team. No production is worth the negative message that the off-field activity represents, regardless of the outcome of any off-field arrest and subsequent charges, etc.

This release of Aaron Hernandez lets the Patriots send a clear message to all other players on the team, future free agents or draft picks, and other teams that this organization will not tolerate anyone disrespecting the franchise and allowing their personal situation to paint the team in a negative light. The values put in place by owner Robert Kraft following his purchase of the team still hold true today.  Just like the controversial release of former Nebraska defensive end Christian Peter who was let go just days after being taken in the 5th round of the 1996 draft during the Bill Parcells/Bobby Grier management, the release of Hernandez. As Kraft stated at the time (reported by Peter King of SI.com in 1996):

"it's the last time our organization will ever flirt with someone like [Peter]—if our people want to keep their jobs."

That seems to make it very clear that the organization is not going to tolerate any player who is negatively representing the organization .  That is not to say that the team will bring in only players with sparkling reputations, but that the leash is short on players with a bad reputations or a background with issues.  Aaron Hernandez had some issues--nothing like Peter's record--and the team gave him a chance to play and succeed as long as he kept himself out of trouble. The Patriots as an organization will give players with some baggage a second chance (Randy Moss, Corey Dillon, Albert Haynesworth, Chad Ochocinqo/Johnson) but do not give the players any leeway to screw up and come back.

Although surprising, it appears the Patriots remained true to their core organizational values and cut the cord from tight end Aaron Hernandez before his situation carried over into training camp next month.  The team can afford to go forward without a talented tight end and not skip a beat on offense, as they have done the past few years.  The timing of this prior to training camp is optimal so that the team has the entire training camp to continue with their revamping of the offense.  At this time, its time to think about the Patriots PLAYING football, rather than police/legal action regarding football players.

Saturday, June 22, 2013

Aaron Hernandez and the Patriots

by Hal Bent

So much for the quiet off-season in New England for the Patriots.  Instead of trying to wrangle an invitation on former Cowboys' coach Jimmy Johnson's boat for deep seas fishing and coaching chatter with Jimmy's pal Bill Belichick, offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels is going to be knee deep in video trying to re-arrange the Patriots offense without either of his all-world tight ends to dictate mismatches across the board.  Tight end Rob Gronkowski continues to recover from his 5th surgery (4 on the forearm, 1 on the back) in the past 8 months, while each news report seems to indicate that the odds of Aaron Hernandez playing football in New England again get longer and longer.

The Patriots draft for value, and hit home runs with Hernandez and Gronk.  Just to have gotten the production out of them for 3 seasons, if neither plays again (which is an unrealistic worst-case scenario) makes them steals in the NFL draft.  Put it this way to the hyperventilating talking heads who want to make their drafting into a negative now, do you want 3 great seasons of Gronk and Hernandez or however many mediocre seasons of someone else (Say Pitta and Dickson in Baltimore, for example).  In the NFL, anything over 3 years of production from any player is gravy, and both tight ends are still young and potentially (best case scenario here) able to contribute on the field for many years.

Personally, I am at a loss with this Aaron Hernandez situation. How does someone get themselves in that situation and then leave a trail of bread crumbs leading right to your front door?  US Presidents Richard Nixon and Bill Clinton both tarnished their reputations with the cover-ups of their--well, let's be nice and say "issues"--issues led to their problems, rather than coming out with the truth and then dealing with the repercussions.    

Hernandez has a lot of questions to be answered regarding his role in a murder and the fact that at best he was involved in a cover-up of a crime. To be given the opportunity Hernandez has received with earning millions of dollars playing a game, it is a shame he is in this position.  The fact that he has a young child now and is destroying opportunity to give his child the life he did not have due to his background growing up is what really galls me.  I was raised that the role of a parent is to put the child first and you are judged by whether you can give your children a better life than yours.  

Instead, Hernandez has let down his coaches, his teammates, and his employer by getting involved in this horrible murder and bringing this indignity upon the New England Patriots.  His immaturity and ignorance are a disgrace. To his family, fiance, and young child (who will learn about this incident that took place while as an infant), such a course of action is embarrassing and shameful.  Although I know it happens all the time (we just don't hear about it when done by non-celebrities), one expects fatherhood to encourage him to put aside his stupid, youthful troubles. 

As a citizen, as a friend, as a father, as a teammate, and as a man, Aaron Hernandez is failing. Here's hoping he can realize this, and get his life back on track by doing the right thing.  Of course, once the Lawyers are involved, the right thing gets trampled by "the best legal course".  
Now, the true test for Hernandez begins.  The fact he may not play in 2013 for the Patriots takes a backseat to the fact there is a dead person and answers about the death of Odin Lloyd take precedent to any "games". Now is the time that tests Aaron Hernandez. Let's see if he can be a real man and take the necessary responsibility for his actions.

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Daily Paper - 6/11/2013

by Hal Bent

Remember, the BostonSportPage.com Daily Paper is available here and here -------> 
(cool widget on the page, eh?)

Lots of links to great information there from great writers online for news, opinion, and analysis.

Check out my good friends at MusketFire.com for all things Tim Tebow and the New England Patriots. 

I hope to have my analysis posted there today (hopefully before I meet up with Gallagher at the Central, because God knows what will come out of my fingertips onto the screen afterwards!), but in the meantime there is analysis, opinion, and "entertaining" discussion in the comments from the pro-Tebow camp and the con-Tebow camp. I think "entertaining" is the right term for it. 

Also, I hope to add another chapter to the Training Camp Position Battles in Foxborough, MA this summer at GetRealFootball which has analysis on all 32 teams in the NFL, plus CFL coverage for your real hard-core football fans!

Plus, it's only Tuesday, but since everyone is thinking about Friday and the weekend, I will as well. Friday is when YouGabSports features Hal B's Fantastic Friday Sports Spectacular

Yes, it was an "extravaganza" originally, but I decided to put my Liberal Arts degree to work (hold on while I blow the dust off of it) and use some additional alliteration. 

Also, this is the first time I scheduled a post (rather than blasting it off at 5:45AM when no one would notice), so don't get worked up, I'm still stuck working at work today. ;)


Saturday, June 08, 2013

BostonSportPage Daily Paper

by Hal Bent

I have always liked collections of links to local Sports news. So I figured (after bouncing the idea around for a while) to give it a shot with the typical BostonSportPage.com style.  So it kicked off today and I hope to have it as a daily paper of links you can follow each day.

I've added it to the main page here to the right --------->

You can also check it out here (http://paper.li/f-1370707260#) each day, and of course I will try to get it to any followers on Twitter, Facebook, etc.

All right, enjoy! :)

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