Patriots coach Bill Belichick will meet the media on Wednesday for the first time since Aaron Hernandez’s arrest on a murder charge and release from the Patriots, but the man who threw passes to Hernandez for three years has weighed in on Tuesday.
Tom Brady spoke to Peter King of The MMQB and his response to a question about how the Patriots offense will proceed without Hernandez in the mix is probably a pretty good indication of how things will go when Belichick steps to the podium. Brady doesn’t mention Hernandez by name once, although he does make a few references to putting the best interests of the team ahead of individual agendas, and doesn’t show the slightest bit of worry about not having a talented player in the lineup while focusing on winning with the people who are currently on the roster.
“I’ve seen a lot of things over 13 years, and what I have learned is that mental toughness and putting aside personal agendas for what’s in the best interest of the team matters most,” Brady said. “My job is to play quarterback, and I’m going to do that the best way I know how, because I owe that to my teammates regardless of who is out there on the field with me. I have moved on. I’m focusing on the great teammates I have who are committed to helping us win games. The only thing I care about is winning. Nothing is going to ever get in the way of that goal. I’m just excited to report to camp and see what we can accomplish as a team. The fate of our season will be determined by the players in our locker room — nothing else.”
It’s the response you’d expect and the only verbal one Patriots players and coaches can give about the situation in football terms. They will indeed win or lose because of the players in their locker room and repeating that as much as possible is as good a course as any to take against the questions about Hernandez that will come their way.
The actual replacement of Hernandez’s production will be a little more difficult than repeating well-worn lines about only talking about the people in the room, however.