The New England Patriots are in the news once again and this time is not about Tim Tebow. Tight end Aaron Hernandez is finding himself between a rock and hard place as news surface of any potential involvement in the death of 27-year-old Odin Lloyd of Dorchester. The rental of a 2013 Chevrolet Suburban with Rhode Island license plate was enough to raise suspicions and give the North Attleboro police reason to question and search Hernandez home as Sports Illustrated’s Pete Thamel and Greg Bedard disclosed that Hernandez’ name is tied to the rental car.
Dec 23, 2012; Jacksonville, FL, USA; New England Patriots tight end Aaron Hernandez (81) warms up before the start of the game against the Jacksonville Jaguars at EverBank Field. Mandatory Credit: Melina Vastola-USA TODAY Sports
While investigation is currently ongoing, Patriots spokesman Stacey James issued a statement to the media: “I am aware of the reports, but I do not anticipate that we will be commenting publicly during an ongoing police investigation.”
Hernandez is far from being ruled out as a suspect on the death of Odin Lloyd who was dating the sister of Hernandez’s girlfriend according to CBS Boston’s Peter Wilson.
Well, so much for a six-week off for Bill Belichick, not that I really think he can disconnect from football, but this is just too much when the team is still working in improving all aspects of the roster such as the defensive line, wide receivers (both with a good number of new faces) and tight ends (not so sure what Gronk’s return time-frame will be).
But if the situation with Hernandez turns out really sour, Belichick will have to restructure the entire tight end position. Working with what he has which in this case, it could be Michael Hoomanawanui and Zach Sudfeld making to the 53-man roster – at least they are more promising. Jake Ballard will more likely be in the mix too since Belichick has been marinating him for a big debut (I’m hoping his health is up to the challenge). Daniels Fells hasn’t impressed me much and Brandon Ford might be just a body for practice. It will be a challenge as expectation from the fans and the Patriots organization is usually high. Gronk’s unknown returning time-frame adds up to the challenge as he has proven to be indispensable to Belichick’s offensive scheme.
Also, it could be that Belichick will just have to rely less on his explosive tight end offensive scheme and go with his new core of wide receivers and improved running backs. Nevertheless, it makes quite demanding and an entire revamping of offensive scheme will have to be elaborated making it tougher when unpredictability rules in the face of so many new bodies and chemistry is still yet to be developed. I do not doubt Belichick’s game plan, but it concerns me when injuries can happen at any time at any day and when the possibility of lack of talent in the field exists.
On the other hand, food for thought, Tim Tebow could be next big thing in the tight end position. Yes, he is in the roster as our third-string quarterback, but as many brought to the attention that he has the potential to play tight end/full back. It might be worth taking a look if the worst comes to worse. It could very well be that Belichick still figuring out on how to explore Tebow’s versatility and flexibility as a player.
Let’s focus for the best for Hernandez and the Patriots. May justice serve the Lloyd’s family in the days ahead.
Follow Celia Westbrook on Twitter @celiawestbrook