Aaron Hernandez Aaron Hernandez

Aaron Hernandez gearing up to work with Tom Brady


New England Patriots 23-year-old star tight end Aaron Hernandez was poised to have a breakout season in 2012, but a severely sprained ankle he sustained in Week 2 against the Arizona Cardinals showed us that the football spirits had other plans regarding Hernandez. Limited to just nine games of action, Hernandez was still able to haul in 46 passes for 439 yards and five touchdowns as a prime red zone threat, but the ankle injury did limit his per-game effectiveness as well. Hernandez worked the short and intermediate game to perfection when healthy, but it seemed like the Patriots weren’t allowing him to do the things we thought Hernandez would be asked to do in 2012; run more vertical routes was one of them.

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Hernandez is ready for a very productive offseason, as evidenced by his decision to rent a place in Los Angeles (Manhattan Beach, to be precise) so he can work out with Tom Brady. This news comes to us from the NFL Network’s top insider Albert Breer via Twitter.

If the Patriots are not able to re-sign Wes Welker, then Hernandez’s importance will increase greatly, especially since he is a key target for the Patriots on intermediate routes. Getting some extra training with Brady will  certainly help rebuild that rapport between them, and it will go a long way in getting an early start on what could be a special year for Hernandez if all goes well. We all know Hernandez has the tools to be an exceptional player in this league, and it’s great to hear that is getting a head start on doing the little things.

This is the kind of forward-thinking and maturity that every franchise wants to see in one of their young stars, and it all starts with the drive to succeed and put in extra time. Brady has definitely taken notice of Hernandez’s willingness to work hard at his craft, and I hope this pays off some significant dividends for Hernandez. Brady’s renowned personal trainer will also help Hernandez, and this move is great news for Patriots fans.

You can follow Joe Soriano on Twitter @SorianoJoe.