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Patriots call Hernandez release “the right thing to do”

New York Jets v New England Patriots Getty Images

So much for a double standard in sports.

The Patriots have released tight end Aaron Hernandez, roughly 90 minutes after he was arrested on a charge that has not yet been identified.

“A young man was murdered last week and we extend our sympathies to the family and friends who mourn his loss,” the Patriots announced.  “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.”

It’s a shocker, for multiple reasons.  First, the Patriots have abandoned a key player in their offense.  Described by Tom Curran of CSN New England as a Swiss army knife, Hernandez can line up in many spots and do many things for the New England offense.

Second, the move prevents the Patriots from ever recovering a penny of the $12.5 million signing bonus from his 2012 contract extension worth a total of $39 million.  It remains to be seen whether the Patriots will try to avoid paying $3.25 million in a deferred payment due on March 31, 2014, and whether they’ll try to wipe out base-salary guaranteed of $1.323 million in 2013 and $1.137 million in 2014.

Then again, the Patriots may not care about the money.  They’re making a strong statement that they have no use for Hernandez, which makes us wonder what the NFL and the Patriots have learned via their own investigations regarding the murder of Odin Lloyd and Hernandez’s behavior in its aftermath.

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80 Responses to “Patriots call Hernandez release “the right thing to do””
  1. cortiz086 says: Jun 26, 2013 10:31 AM

    Good

  2. jimbo75025 says: Jun 26, 2013 10:33 AM

    Wow. This may me suspect that there may be something more than obstruction coming down the road……

  3. jjb0811 says: Jun 26, 2013 10:33 AM

    good riddance!

  4. stillersfan says: Jun 26, 2013 10:34 AM

    I’m beginning to think there may be more than an “Obstruction of Justice” charge coming this afternoon…

  5. maven2222 says: Jun 26, 2013 10:35 AM

    Pats lovers and haters should agree – this was a really classy move

  6. ccjcsr says: Jun 26, 2013 10:35 AM

    Plating in the NFL is a Priviledge, not a right. Don;t like the Pats but a strong message sent.

  7. mvp43 says: Jun 26, 2013 10:35 AM

    I think they had to dump him. Whether he pulled the trigger or not, he was at the least invloved to some degree. If this was drunk driving or something along those lines, it would be a different story. But it wasn’t….. it was murder.

  8. green41563 says: Jun 26, 2013 10:35 AM

    The Patriots had to have conducted their own investigation and concluded that he would end up being convicted of a serious crime. They’d never have released him otherwise.

  9. questionableprovenance says: Jun 26, 2013 10:35 AM

    How much would it cost to get Welker back?

  10. rationalitybias says: Jun 26, 2013 10:35 AM

    They must know something. Hernandez knows who killed that man, but he tried to remove any trace of anyone ever being with him that night.

  11. ocd2828 says: Jun 26, 2013 10:36 AM

    Classiest organization in the NFL

  12. CKL says: Jun 26, 2013 10:36 AM

    They moved fast and perhaps cost themselves money they didn’t need to. I honestly expected them to wait until he was charged at least but I can’t say I’m mad. I would assume they know more about the charges he’s facing than we the public do. I am glad that after doing something like giving him an extension when he seemed iffy still that they have now done what I hoped they’d do and cut ties.

  13. trevsabeast says: Jun 26, 2013 10:36 AM

    And now we wait for the 16 game suspension from Goodell.

  14. gallyhatch says: Jun 26, 2013 10:37 AM

    Good riddance.

  15. tats55 says: Jun 26, 2013 10:38 AM

    While I understand the move it’s still going to hurt not having him in the lineup…

  16. tunescribe says: Jun 26, 2013 10:38 AM

    This was the smartest thing the Patriots could’ve done.

  17. Patskrieg dot com says: Jun 26, 2013 10:39 AM

    What was that line from A Bronx Tale about wasted talent?

    Depressing turn of events here if ever there was one.

  18. iknowmyshht says: Jun 26, 2013 10:39 AM

    I betcha he would prefer to be released by the authorities instead!!!! BOOM!!!!

  19. vmannj says: Jun 26, 2013 10:40 AM

    Bill has cameras. He knows what happened. It’s over, bro.

  20. sgtdiver says: Jun 26, 2013 10:40 AM

    The pats organization just earned my respect.

  21. themohel says: Jun 26, 2013 10:40 AM

    Excellent work, Pats, from a Bear fan….

  22. dunquixote says: Jun 26, 2013 10:41 AM

    Coming to a TJ Maxx store near you; Aaron Hernandez jerseys.

  23. denverwally says: Jun 26, 2013 10:41 AM

    Good move by the Patriots, they clearly are showing that the money is secondary to doing the right thing.

  24. rpiotr01 says: Jun 26, 2013 10:42 AM

    It’s a good thing he decided that maintaining street cred was more important than having a successful and lucrative career.

  25. chargerdillon says: Jun 26, 2013 10:42 AM

    There’s no way the Pats would’ve released him if this was just obstruction of justice

    While it’s never good to lose a player like this the AFC East just really became a lot more interesting.

    With the serious lack of depth on offense it stands to reason we could be seeing a lot more of Tebow than anybody really anticipated. I could very well see Tebow as a primary RB or a consistent switch to wildcat to spell brady.

    If you dont have the tools to pass, you have to run. Tebow can help them do that

  26. macmanud says: Jun 26, 2013 10:43 AM

    I am a Pats fan and love what AH brought the last few years on the field. But I could not have gone to a game and supported him after all this. Thank you Bob Kraft.

  27. jerrygogo says: Jun 26, 2013 10:44 AM

    “Murder was the case that they gave me.”

    –Calvin Broadus

  28. patsfanforlife says: Jun 26, 2013 10:45 AM

    Such a waste of athletic talent and opportunity.

  29. mvp43 says: Jun 26, 2013 10:45 AM

    Thumbs up if Marvin Lewis is ticked that he can’t get a hold of Hernandez on his cell phone.

  30. shogunassasin30 says: Jun 26, 2013 10:45 AM

    I’m no Pats fan, but I respect the hell out of ‘em for doing this

  31. bradygirl12 says: Jun 26, 2013 10:46 AM

    I feel for the victim’s family. I hope this is the start of the process of justice being served,between the arrest and now the release. 9 days ago,Hernandez had it all. Now,he has nothing. Arraignment (and revelation of charges) at 11:00am,according to the NFL Network. What a waste,no matter what the charges are. The guy had it made.

  32. remyje says: Jun 26, 2013 10:46 AM

    Wonder if a C.O. told him?

  33. jlinatl says: Jun 26, 2013 10:46 AM

    It is the right thing to do. I’m really not sure how many organizations would have done it… especially before the charges were announced.

    They may have more information than we have so they may already know or at least strongly suspect what the charges are and what the evidence is.

    Hopefully, they can keep from paying him.

  34. tatatoothy says: Jun 26, 2013 10:47 AM

    The Ravens could learn something from the Patriots today

  35. Patriot42 says: Jun 26, 2013 10:47 AM

    If Tebow could only play TE.

  36. 2ndaryinsanity says: Jun 26, 2013 10:47 AM

    Wow, I didn’t think this would happen. The Pats may lack class in other areas, but they got this one right. Good for them!

  37. tobymo says: Jun 26, 2013 10:48 AM

    Absolutely the right thing to do. You don’t destroy your cell phone and security system unless you have something to hide. Indefinitely suspend him Roger.

  38. dthunder5438 says: Jun 26, 2013 10:48 AM

    Starting to look like the Bills will have a fairly easy win in the season opener. No Hernandez and no Gronk equals no chance for the Patriots.

  39. honolulublue says: Jun 26, 2013 10:48 AM

    Not saying he is innocent cause I believe he did something. But what happened to innocent till proven guilty?

  40. harrisonhits2 says: Jun 26, 2013 10:49 AM

    A little surprising they didn’t put him on non-football cause reserve so they could recover as much money as possible, but I guess when you have a couple billion it doesn’t matter so much.

  41. dezmick says: Jun 26, 2013 10:50 AM

    The Pats just saved Roger Goodell from wasting his time announcing a suspension. Good move. Its been a nice career Hernandez.

  42. footballphan23 says: Jun 26, 2013 10:51 AM

    28 NFL players have been arrested since the Super Bowl.

  43. pkrjones says: Jun 26, 2013 10:52 AM

    Tebow and the jugs machine will be best friends by the time training camp opens. Brady needs some offensive help and putting another athlete on the field can only help…

    Good move, NE.

  44. wewantmoretebowandfavrearticles says: Jun 26, 2013 10:53 AM

    No doubt members of the Patriots organization will be called in to testify and have already been subject to police questioning on this case. Releasing him was a no-brainer because based on what the police have leaked, it seems Hernandez is the only possible suspect unless he hired a hit man. If his lawyer does get him off here, Hernandez will likely still get hit with a 6 game suspension after proceedings are over. It can also be expected Goddell will indefinitely suspend him. He does have his right to his day in court and is innocent until proven guilty, but it does not look like freedom is in Hernandez’s future.

  45. mswravens says: Jun 26, 2013 10:53 AM

    Kudos to the Patriots organization for doing the right thing!

  46. nnagi says: Jun 26, 2013 10:56 AM

    meanwhile josh brent remains on the cowboys roster…

  47. walkinginthewasteland says: Jun 26, 2013 10:56 AM

    Some thoughts

    If this was the Ray Lewis incident, but now, would the Ravens drop him? There is both a difference in caliber of players and a much wider difference in Commissioner policies. Goodell would have hit Ray with something, unlike Tags.

  48. bpjensen says: Jun 26, 2013 10:58 AM

    This really was not a shocker as I imagine the Patriots are well aware of what the charge will be.

    Further, the cash did not matter because there is little chance the Patriots would have recovered any of the $12.5 million considering whatever cash of that is left (keeping in mind he probably paid close to half in taxes and that is a $1m+ house), will now be going to pay for his defense.

  49. commonsensedude says: Jun 26, 2013 11:00 AM

    Now I guess they can actually ignore the noise about Hernandez. Good move by the Patriots.

  50. thesteelers says: Jun 26, 2013 11:02 AM

    Bengals?

  51. ebr362 says: Jun 26, 2013 11:03 AM

    As a Dolphin fan I applaud the Pats for this decisive move.

  52. chrisvegasiscrazy says: Jun 26, 2013 11:04 AM

    I don’t have all the facts so I can’t say for sure anything. I will say that based on what we know I think the guy deserves his day in court. Your innocent until proven guilty. So I think the classy thing to do is to stand by your guy until he is convicted. If they know more then the public about the investigation or more know more about the player then fine. Based on what we know I think it’s scary to think we treat people like there guilty until proven innocent. The NFL hands down discipline before they know a player is guilty or not that’s not right. That’s the kind of laws that should be passed, laws that protect the individual from being discriminated against cause of allegations, or free speech. Playing in NFL is a privilege yes and not a right, but nothing that is a privilege should ever be able to trump a person constitutional rights.

  53. psousa1 says: Jun 26, 2013 11:05 AM

    This is all happening 3 streets over from me. His neighbors must be ecstatic and hope they never see his idiot face again.

    Imagine – a lucrative career at your feet but as someone else pointed out in this thread it is more important to show you have badass, Tony Montana, street cred.

    The stories that keep coming out about this kid are unbelievable. Total jerk.

  54. eaglemking says: Jun 26, 2013 11:06 AM

    Good move, Pats. Innocent till proven guilty is kind of moot in this case. Pats know the evidence is damning and the crime obviously heinous. A prompt release was the best option for the org, and the “right thing to do”.

  55. Derwin Worrell says: Jun 26, 2013 11:09 AM

    I wouldn’t go that far in calling the Patriots the most classiest organization but this was a great move by them. I told my friend last week, who is a Patriot fan that the Patriots need to do something now before Goodell did. Bravo to the Patriots.

  56. antalicus says: Jun 26, 2013 11:11 AM

    They probably didn’t need a rookie symposium this year, im sure this prepares them for all they need to know.

  57. realfootballfan says: Jun 26, 2013 11:12 AM

    Have to say, Patriots get my utmost respect for doing this.

    And before anyone compares it to Ray Lewis, extremely different circumstances at play here.

  58. catfish252 says: Jun 26, 2013 11:13 AM

    Kudos to Robert Kraft and the Patriots, it’s wrong that the Pats can’t recoup that salary owed to A.H. on a moral clause.

  59. patsfan13 says: Jun 26, 2013 11:14 AM

    Any money the Patriots have to pay Hernandez, the lawyers are going to get most, if not, all of it. As for the team, anyone can be lost due to injury etc, so the Patriots will figure it out. Ballard?

  60. psj3809 says: Jun 26, 2013 11:15 AM

    I’m no Patriots fan whatsoever but hats off to them here.

    Too often a team will hang onto a star player despite what that player gets up to (Look at the Rams and Leonard Little), thats one reason why players think they’re above the law as a team might cut a 3rd string player who has a DUI but never a star player.

    Moves like this might stop more and more NFL players getting on the wrong side of the law if they know theres a 100% chance they’ll get released for any crime, in this case its a potentially major crime.

    But i never thought i would say it but hats off to the Pats

  61. pats4ev says: Jun 26, 2013 11:15 AM

    Best, classiest and most functional organization in the NFL. Way to go Kraft!!! There are bigger things in life than money. GO PATS!!!

  62. cowboylover says: Jun 26, 2013 11:15 AM

    Innocent until proven guilty is in the courtroom, not in the court of public opinion. Obviously, he was involved in some way–OBVIOUSLY. The Pats absolutely did the right thing, although it surprised me. Good decision.

  63. granadafan says: Jun 26, 2013 11:16 AM

    The Pats knew.

  64. ninerdynasty says: Jun 26, 2013 11:21 AM

    And here’s the reason why he lasted until the 4th round. I guess the risk did not pay off for NE.. i heard that some teams did not even want to touch him.

  65. 8man says: Jun 26, 2013 11:24 AM

    Philosophically and morally, perhaps the right thing to do. Maybe not financially. Unless all of the money is sunk regardless.

    I’d like to know what their options would be if they waited it out and he were unable to report due to incarceration. Because that seems like a potential outcome.

    Yeah, I know everyone on here will disagree, but right or wrong, winning is why they play the games, and a cap hit for nothing keeps you from getting talent to help you do it. Unless there was relief from the league, I hang onto him until I can release him with lowest financial penalty possible.

  66. melikefootball says: Jun 26, 2013 11:30 AM

    The Pats were forced into this, should have done something earlier.

  67. spideysdog says: Jun 26, 2013 11:41 AM

    The only move and the right move. Good job NE. releasing him before he was even arrested would have been appropriate.

    Doing it swiftly and immediately after, shows a hell of a lot of class and intelligence.

    Nice job to Kraft and BB.

  68. george1859 says: Jun 26, 2013 11:53 AM

    From a Bills fan:
    Total class move from Mr. Kraft and the Patriots org.

  69. stugie says: Jun 26, 2013 12:14 PM

    And if he is innocent I hope you all will be posting how classless and the Patriots were for turning there back on a friend. We don’t even know what he has been charged with and he is being thrown under the bus.

  70. austinoxford says: Jun 26, 2013 12:47 PM

    Innocent until proven guilty is only applicable to our government. (unless you are a war criminal) Private entities have no obligation to wait and see what a court of law does.

  71. skleech22 says: Jun 26, 2013 12:59 PM

    While the Pats are at it,doing the right thing verbiage. Why don’t they give their three rings back for cheating!!??

  72. Tracy says: Jun 26, 2013 1:04 PM

    This has nothing to do with class. It is about distancing themselves from a horrible situation. It was a smart legal and business move on the part of the Patriots. That’s all.

  73. blackdonnelly says: Jun 26, 2013 1:21 PM

    I kinda feel bad for the Hoodie and the organization in general – it’s obvious they made a bad move laying that contract on Hernandez. I haven’t read much into all these previous allegations about Hernandez in college and so forth – I’m hoping the Pats did at least a little work into researching our boy here. They did what they had to do to conclude their end of it and move on.

    Now the finger pointing can begin. But I’ll stay out of it.

  74. severinsmith says: Jun 26, 2013 1:21 PM

    Very glad they did it.

    Now please God, let Sammy Lammpembola, Lanny Mamamola or whatever the hell his name is, play well.

  75. Mr. Wright 212 says: Jun 26, 2013 1:37 PM

    Good move.

  76. CKL says: Jun 26, 2013 1:40 PM

    chrisvegasiscrazy says:
    Jun 26, 2013 11:04 AM

    I don’t have all the facts so I can’t say for sure anything. I will say that based on what we know I think the guy deserves his day in court. Your innocent until proven guilty. So I think the classy thing to do is to stand by your guy until he is convicted. If they know more then the public about the investigation or more know more about the player then fine. Based on what we know I think it’s scary to think we treat people like there guilty until proven innocent. The NFL hands down discipline before they know a player is guilty or not that’s not right. That’s the kind of laws that should be passed, laws that protect the individual from being discriminated against cause of allegations, or free speech. Playing in NFL is a privilege yes and not a right, but nothing that is a privilege should ever be able to trump a person constitutional rights.
    _____________________________
    As long as they followed anything in the CBA and AH’s contract about it that’s all that matters. One does not have a right to employment.
    How are his constitutional rights trumped by his employer releasing him for this? I’m curious.

  77. rc33 says: Jun 26, 2013 2:25 PM

    The cap ramifications of waiving him are going to huge problem for the Patriots the next two seasons. This feels a lot like the Len Bias scenario back when I was a kid.

  78. Mr. Wright 212 says: Jun 26, 2013 2:53 PM

    Count 1: Murder.
    Count 2: Carrying Firearm without License.

    Date of Offence (Counts 1-2): 6.17.2013.

    Count 3: Possession of a large capacity firearm.
    Count 4: Possession of a large capacity firearm.
    Count 5: Possession of a firearm without an FID card.
    Count 6: Possession of a firearm without an ID card.

    Date of Offence (Counts 3-6): 6.22.2013.

    No mention of the obstruction charge.

  79. lanman11 says: Jun 26, 2013 3:10 PM

    The Patriots have a record for doing business this way. In the 1996 Draft they selected a D-tackle from Nebraska named Christian Peters. After learning more about Peter’s violent history, the Patriots relinquished the rights to Christian only a week after the draft. The team said that Christian’s behavior was “incompatible with our organization’s standards of acceptable conduct.” Myra Kraft, the wife of Patriots owner Robert Kraft, personally demanded that the team cut all ties with Peter. It was the first time in NFL history that a drafted player had been waived by a team before the start of training camp. Perhaps Mr. Kraft is feeling the ghost of his late wife Myra.

    The Patriots have worked with some other troubled players before and while on field results have been uneven, the majority of the time the players held to a standard of conduct previously unknown to them. Whatever they are doing there seems to work. Of all the major pro sports, NFL players seem to be the most troubled, perhaps because of the violent nature of the sport and the sheer numbers of players involved. Nobody can fault The Patriots for not batting 1000. It’s not about what happens. It’s about how you respond, and boy did they respond.

    They are losing offensive weapons at an alarming rate, but if there is a QB that can take lemons and make strawberry lemonade, they have him on the roster.

  80. cmdrsmooth says: Jun 26, 2013 11:20 PM

    Yeah right…classy move by Pats. really? This fans comment says it best.

    “For all of you talking about the ‘class’ of this organization and the decision to cut him… It takes him being dragged away in shackles before they do anything.

    Maybe had they cut him BEFORE all this I would agree with you, but they were hanging on hoping he would be cleared, forgetting about his past…”

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