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Aaron Hernandez says Belichick and “the Patriot way” changed him

Aaron+Hernandez+New+England+Patriots+v+Denver+0RFqf4T_AErl Getty Images

When Aaron Hernandez left Florida to enter the 2010 NFL draft, he was viewed by some as a character risk because of positive drug tests and his admission that he had used marijuana in college. And if Hernandez was a character risk, then it seemed out of character for the Patriots to be the team that drafted him.

But the Patriots did draft him, and if there was any doubt that Hernandez was the right fit for the franchise, that doubt was erased by the way he’s played in his first two NFL seasons. And when the Patriots made a long-term commitment to Hernandez today, signing him through 2018 with $37.5 million in new money, they made clear that Hernandez is just the kind of player they want.

So why is Hernandez, once viewed as a character risk, now viewed as a perfect team player? Hernandez said in an emotional press conference today that the Patriots have changed him.

You get changed by the Bill Belichick way, you get changed by the Patriot Way,” Hernandez said.

Hernandez seemed particularly touched that Patriots owner Robert Kraft thought he was worth a long-term investment, and to show his appreciation Hernandez donated $50,000 to the Myra Kraft Giving Back Fund.

I said, ‘Aaron, you don’t have to do this. You’ve already got your contract,’” Kraft said. “He said, ‘No, it makes me feel good and I want to do it.’ And that made me feel good.”

Everyone in New England is feeling good about Hernandez’s future with the Patriots.

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37 Responses to “Aaron Hernandez says Belichick and “the Patriot way” changed him”
  1. akd1287 says: Aug 27, 2012 8:21 PM

    Love it. Gronk and Hernandez are going to be obliterating defenses for years to come.

  2. touchdownroddywhite says: Aug 27, 2012 8:24 PM

    He deserves it. Gronk is a beast in his own right, but he Still benefits greatly from the presence of Hernandez.

  3. gmsalpha says: Aug 27, 2012 8:24 PM

    The reason Aaron Hernandez “changed” was not only because of the Patriot Way, but also because he wanted to change. A player might want to change, but be on a dysfunctional team, or a player might get to New England and for the sake of a better term, be a rotten apple.

    Good for Aaron. I’m happy to hear that he’s matured and was put in the position to do so.

    I’m curious to see if the same change occurs in Ryan Mallet.

  4. madmanleo says: Aug 27, 2012 8:25 PM

    good for him. crazy dual threat and now ne is loaded at TE. yay,….

  5. patriots123456 says: Aug 27, 2012 8:25 PM

    The Patriots are very well structured and organized. They have reaped the benefits from this.

    Hernandez is a very hard working humble player. He has delivered and I’m glad the Pats approached him 2 yrs early and rewarded him.

    He deserves it.

  6. lightcleric says: Aug 27, 2012 8:30 PM

    Does that mean he’s going to start wearing a hoodie and lose his soul?

  7. nodaclu says: Aug 27, 2012 8:30 PM

    We hear so many stories about spoiled, entitled athletics who refuse to grow up. So it’s nice to read a piece about an athlete who DID decide to grow up. Awesome. Wish there were more stories like this.

  8. mccourty1sland says: Aug 27, 2012 8:30 PM

    This is great. All around greatness.

  9. piratefreedom says: Aug 27, 2012 8:31 PM

    wr/te/rb he does it all.

    The Pats can stay in no huddle and still run a wide variety of formations, which should mean opportunities to exploit whatever the weak spots on a defense are,with whatever group of 11 defenders that are stuck on the field by the no huddle.

    Having gronk and hernandez locked up long term is great news for Pats fans.

  10. packhawk04 says: Aug 27, 2012 8:35 PM

    I dont like the patriots, but this is a good story. Instead of reading about players holding out, complaining about refs or getting arrested, here’s a guy who understands that being a professional athlete comes with some responsibility, and hes willing to accept and live up to that responsibility.

    Good for him, and a good story.

  11. berniesboys says: Aug 27, 2012 8:46 PM

    Bernie Kosar lobbied for the hiring (re-hiring) of Bill Belichick in 1999. Would Belichick have turned that franchise the way he has in NE, or would Cleveland eat him up (re-eat him up) the way it does everyone else. BTW, not bitter, good for NE and good for Belichick.

  12. houstontexans99 says: Aug 27, 2012 8:56 PM

    He’s got one of the best TD signature moves, dolla dolla bills yall

  13. beefsbrother says: Aug 27, 2012 9:04 PM

    Dez Bryant, are you reading this? Wait…Dez Bryant’s agent, are you reading this to Dez?

  14. wheresmyjuice says: Aug 27, 2012 9:04 PM

    Class organization builds character individuals.

    I’m not an AFC guy but the dichotomy between the 2 rival AFC East organizations is amazing. It’s amazing what you can get when you don’t mope around for not playing with the 1′s in the preseason.

  15. scalfor3 says: Aug 27, 2012 9:08 PM

    he was a bad guy because he smoked pot. now he’s a good guy cause he catches tds and supposedly doesnt smoke pot.

  16. dbones750 says: Aug 27, 2012 9:09 PM

    On Sunday, I felt ‘stuck’ with Hernandez on my FF team. Now, I’m very happy to have him. $37.5 mil!? He’s gonna catch passes.

    Let’s hope he walks the walk, seems like a good enough dude.

  17. stevebozeman says: Aug 27, 2012 9:13 PM

    I love the Patriots. They are perfect. Every personnel move is genius even if it is doesn’t work. I’m sick of it. No one ever mentions there mistakes. It’s sickening.

  18. nevin999 says: Aug 27, 2012 9:14 PM

    Philly fan here. Wow. Really heart-warming story.

  19. cereal blogger says: Aug 27, 2012 9:16 PM

    #lame

  20. tampa2wo says: Aug 27, 2012 9:21 PM

    Is it me or does the Patriots’ organization resemble a scientology cult? From Randy Moss speaking out about his contract and getting released days later, to the brainwashing “Patriot Way”, all the way down to the girly-man pretty boy as the face of the company, Tom Cruise…..err, Tom Brady. Whatever they’re doing it seems to be working.

  21. omniscient48 says: Aug 27, 2012 9:26 PM

    Too bad Dez Bryant can’t learn from this.

  22. wiscofan says: Aug 27, 2012 9:27 PM

    nice contract for a well respected man

  23. kdppatriots says: Aug 27, 2012 9:44 PM

    I am glad they extended Hernandez. Patriots have the best TE tandem in the league. After Hernandez signed the extention, he donated 50,000 to the Myra Kraft charity.

  24. censoredpost says: Aug 27, 2012 10:23 PM

    Best one-two punch at TE. Heck maybe even all pass catchers in the league, in my opinion. And that’s coming from a life long Phin-Phan ,not that we know pass catchers :( .

    That being said you can only imagine the comment I wanted to make. I knew it would just go straight to my name, so insert spy-gate/”patriot way” comment here. :)

  25. unbreakable02215 says: Aug 27, 2012 10:28 PM

    Tampa2wo wanna know what it stems from ?
    Belichick gets these guys in a room and says the following to them:
    “if it has nothing to do with winning, I don’t give a rats *ss about it.”

    And a quote from Brady: “all I care about is winning. I don’t give a sh#t about anything else”.

  26. mainmandc says: Aug 27, 2012 10:28 PM

    Happy for AH, but coach please dont put this guy in the backfield. He will eventually get hurt. Let him be part of a great TE duo by blocking and receiving.

  27. mrdrewstone says: Aug 27, 2012 11:27 PM

    Good for him. As long as the Pats keep beating the Jets, I’d be thankful!!

  28. ialwayswantedtobeabanker says: Aug 27, 2012 11:31 PM

    Pittsburgh fan weighing in:

    (1) Belichick may be the smartest football coach in the history of the sport (from Pop Warner level all the way up through the NFL) — notice that each of Parcells’s Lombardis came with Belichick, but none of Belichick’s Super Bowl Titles had Parcells involved [I admire that guy];

    (2) Kraft – really cool guy, very classy and honorable;

    (3) Gronk – crazy mismatch, just keep his head dialed into his profession, and not the distraction type stuff that crapped all over the careers of Chad and T.O.;

    (4) Hernandez – what weapon this guy is, and it’s really refreshing to see how Belichick, Kraft, Brady, etc. had such a positive impact on him, his career and his life;

    (5) Brady — too much to even go into here, I could say how could every NFL team pass on him for 199 picks, but I wasn’t hip either; this guy is pretty much awesome in every way.

    Anyone in here who may be a Patriots fan is going to LOVE the Hightower pick. Truth.

  29. j0esixpack says: Aug 27, 2012 11:42 PM

    dbones750 says: On Sunday, I felt ‘stuck’ with Hernandez on my FF team. Now, I’m very happy to have him.

    ———————————————-

    He’s poised to have a monster year – likely Brady’s primary target.

    That’s all the more reason for the Patriots to lock him up now, just before they fully expect he’ll have a career year.

  30. asublimeday says: Aug 27, 2012 11:46 PM

    Class act.

  31. csilojohnson says: Aug 28, 2012 1:20 AM

    Wasnt StallworthLess the murderer on the Pats at one point? Good old justice system… Get drunk and kill someone you get off, smoke a lil pot and your a hardened criminal.

  32. cheers4ablumpkin says: Aug 28, 2012 1:33 AM

    What if Gronk and Hernandez turn out to be bust? Dickson and pitta are better.#ravens

  33. chrisdacommish says: Aug 28, 2012 6:53 AM

    Gronk & Hernandez are both basically WRs who are in TEs bodies, which is becoming more and more what teams will be looking for in the next 5 years of the draft. Get a monster who can catch, and its a lock.

    Thanks for the blueprint ! (My Bucs need it, and hopefully some of Bill B wiped off on Coach Schiano last week ) !

  34. secofunk says: Aug 28, 2012 10:33 AM

    Bill Bel is a cheater and thats that!

  35. Herb Deluxe says: Aug 28, 2012 11:08 AM

    Love the class of this kid: the way he classily goose-steps into the endzone and violently spikes the ball classily at the opponent. So classy. Classic Patriot way, classy all around. Class.

  36. elyasm says: Aug 28, 2012 2:30 PM

    @ialwayswantedtobeabanker

    It’s really nice to hear praise for Kraft coming from a Steelers fan. The Rooney family has always set the bar for how an owner should conduct himself in the NFL and I hope that Kraft family is able to build a similar legacy in the years to come.

  37. jaykubs says: Aug 28, 2012 2:51 PM

    Definitely not a Patriots fan, and I hate the Gators, but it’s touching to see a guy spend part of his bonus (albeit a very tiny part) to help the community.

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