Tag Archives: aaron hernandez

New England Patriots: A Return To Tight End City?

GLENDALE, AZ - FEBRUARY 01 : Ron Gronkowski #87 of the New England Patriots celebrates after catching a touchdown pass over K.J. Wright #50 of the Seattle Seahawks during Super Bowl XLIX February 1, 2015 at the University of Phoenix Stadium in Glendale, Arizona. The Patriots won the game 28-24. (Photo by Focus on Sport/Getty Images) *** Local Caption *** Ron Gronkowski; K.J. Wright
GLENDALE, AZ – FEBRUARY 01 : Ron Gronkowski #87 of the New England Patriots celebrates after catching a touchdown pass over K.J. Wright #50 of the Seattle Seahawks during Super Bowl XLIX February 1, 2015 at the University of Phoenix Stadium in Glendale, Arizona. The Patriots won the game 28-24. (Photo by Focus on Sport/Getty Images) *** Local Caption *** Ron Gronkowski; K.J. Wright

In the very beginning of the 2013 Patriots off season, Patriots fans were absolutely delighted with their dual tight ends of terror, Rob Gronkowski and Aaron Hernandez. Few in the league can match up with Rob Gronkowski’s versatility at tight end. Gronkowski is able to block and catch, a rarity in this day and age. Aaron Hernandez was lauded for his speed and pass catching ability. Hernandez could still block well while exhibiting the traits of a starwideout.

Hernandez and Gronk presented such a match up nightmare that many in New England figured that it would only be a matter of time before the famed tight ends led the Patriots back to Super Bowl glory. Aaron Hernandez of course, chose a different path in 2013. Rather than a Super Bowl berth, Aaron took to murdering his friend Odin Lloyd and spending his life in prison. The New England Patriots of course won a fourth Lombardi Trophy but the once lauded tight end duo did not arrive to Arizona intact.

via newyorker.com
via newyorker.com

The shock of losing Hernandez, especially in New England’s first days of a Wes Welker-less¬† season, was intolerable. Left in Hernandez’s stead were several untested rookies, an ailing Rob Gronkowski and a seemingly promising young tight end named Zach Sudfeld. As the season began, Sudfeld’s promise never materialized and before you could say “practice squad” the Jets scooped him up off the waiver wire and all but confirmed his doomed fate.

In 2014 the Patriots in a shocking move traded offensive lineman Logan Mankins for a fourth round draft pick and tight end from the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Tim Wright. Although many fans lamented the loss of Mankins there was still a considerable buzz in the air for the prospect of having another viable pass-catching tight end. As the season progressed Wright did a serviceable job but was hardly as dynamic as Hernandez had been during his pre incarceration days on the Patriots team.

Tim Wright would show that he was worth picking up, pulling in six touchdowns for the New England Patriots during the 2014 season enroute to an eventual Super Bowl victory. Sadly, Wright was released by the Patriots in June of this year and was resigned, oddly enough, by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
It’s now the start of a new football year and fans are once again clamoring for the now defending New England Patriots to take the field. In an off season filled with deflated footballs, corner back departures and the very real possibility of four games without future Hall of Fame quarterback Tom Brady, did a very real solution to an almost forgotten problem slip under the radar? During free agency the New England Patriots signed what could eventually be the perfect compliment to star tight end Rob Gronkowski. He is now known as No. 88, Scott Chandler and is New England’s best offseason value pickup.

At a height of 6 feet 7 inches and weighing in at roughly 260 pounds, Scott Chandler could very well be the answer all Patriots nation has been waiting for. Chandler brings power and pass catching ability and another wild card to the offense. With both he and Rob Gronkowski on field defenses will constantly be guessing, who is blocking and who is catching? When Scott was with the Buffalo Bills he was often referred to as a “Patriot killer”, routinely making plays and scoring touchdowns over New England’s defense. Coach Bill Belichick is clearly familiar with his upside and was eager to add him to the Patriot’s roster.

Scott Chandler isn’t all roses and confetti. Scott isn’t known for his speed and when compared to Hernandez he lacks the overall versatility the once acclaimed murderer was known for. Chandler is currently nursing a minor knee injury which has unfortunately kept him off the field for much of the preseason, giving the fans very little to see.
Ultimately, time will tell if Scott Chandler will become the missing link to a problem yet to be solved. If injuries do not keep him from reaching his full potential, the New England Patriots may very well once again be living in the high-rise section of Tight End City.

Talent, Brains and Money can be an elusive package in the NFL

Now former San Fransisco 49ers star linebacker Aldon Smith was yet again arrested, this time for a DUI, the third DUI he has gotten since entering the league. As I’m writing this I just got the alert on my phone that the 49ers have released Smith, this makes me question how dumb some of these NFL players and athletes could be in general. You have guys like Aldon Smith, Josh Gordon, Justin Blackmon and of course Aaron Hernandez who are throwing away millions of dollars because of the stupid decisions they’re making. These guys are living the dream, making millions of dollars to play football, what could possibly be better than that? Well apparently to some of these guys going out getting high, shooting people as well as other dumb things there doing, has a higher priority.

Makes you also question how these guys made it this far and if they were just kept being passed on because of their talent and never disciplined for issues before the NFL. Did everyone just turn their backs when these guys were in high school and let them do as they pleased because of their talent? Could some of these guys have been changed and not made the mistakes they did had they been punished and had tighter rules when they were younger? A good thought, but something we’ll never know.

via usatoday.com
via usatoday.com

Aldon Smith was the 7th overall pick and finished second in defensive rookie of the year voting, he looked like he was gonna be a pro bowler year after year and could have been a force in the league. He was then arrested for now three separate DUIs, and for joking about having a bomb at an airport, another just purely stupid move. After his second DUI, Smith entered a rehab facility which seems clear he didn’t take very seriously. When you’re given an opportunity to get help when you need it, you take it and hope you can not only save your career, but also save yourself from going down an even worse path. After his release from the 49ers, his career is almost sure to be over at the age of 25.

via cbssports.com
via cbssports.com

Another guy throwing his career away is Josh Gordon. Gordon bounced around college because of suspensions due to substance abuse problems and hardly played. Gordon was still selected by the Browns in the second round of the supplemental draft and ended up missing time in his rookie season because of his drug use in college. Gordon also missed time during his second season for a substance abuse violation, and again was suspended. When Gordon returned he went on to be the best receiver in the NFL even with missing 14 games. Entering his third season Gordon was suspended yet again for substance abuse, this time originally for the season, which ended up being reduced to 10 games. You think that maybe, just maybe, Gordon would learn from this, nope. Gordon was suspended for at least one year after testing positive for drinking alcohol, which he could not do after being placed in the leagues substance abuse program. Gordon was a complete stud during his very brief NFL career and is now in question if he will ever play again. I loved Gordon on the field and was pulling for him to change his ways off the field. Even with my fandom of Gordon I don’t feel bad for him at all, he could have changed his off-field ways, he was in the leagues substance abuse program after three different substance abuse incidents, and after constant suspensions he just didn’t learn. Apparently weed is more important than playing football and making millions to Gordon. Have fun selling cars again in Cleveland Josh, hope you were good at it because it looks like that is going to be your future, not the NFL.

via profootballtalk.com
via profootballtalk.com

Like Gordon, Justin Blackmon has faced many suspensions due to substance abuse problems. Blackmon was suspended 8 games in 2013 because of failed drug tests and after not learning was suspended the whole season in 2014 for substance abuse and currently faces an indefinite suspension. The Jaguars general manager recently said he doesn’t expect Blackmon to play in the NFL again. 25 years old, and out of the NFL because of weed, not talent which Blackmon had all the talent in the world, not injuries which tend to happen to players, but for smoking weed. Go back a few years and say Blackmon and Gordon would be among the top receivers in the NFL at this point in their careers and almost on one would disagree, tell someone the two would be out of the league and people would be shocked. I don’t feel bad for Blackmon just like I don’t feel bad for other players I mention, he didn’t love the game and rather would live the way he wanted, smoking weed and doing whatever else he wanted to do which didn’t involve football. The last that was seen of Blackmon he was not nearly in the playing shape he was and by the looks of it he has no desire to play in the NFL again.

via bleacherreport.com
via bleacherreport.com

And of course the most well-known idiot on this list, Aaron Hernandez. All us Patriots fans as well as the rest of the country know his story and his legal trouble. Hernandez was convicted and given a life sentence for the murder of Odin Lloyd and still faces a double homicide charge stemming from a 2012 incident. After news of Hernandez’ arrest in the Odin Lloyd incident, Hernandez was released by the Patriots and then other news and incidents from his past began to slowly come out. From him taking a selfie with a gun during his time at Florida, to bar fights, to gang related activities from his time in high school combined with drug use, Hernandez was a thug off the field with all his issues. ¬†Hernandez had all the talent in the world on the field and had all the problems in the world off of it. After just having a baby and a new $40 million contract, you would think Hernandez would give up his old ways and change his life, apparently not. Hernandez is a sociopath and all he knew was his street mentality and was apparent he didn’t wanna change for anything and its who he was, giving up his family, football career, a $40 million contract at the age of 23 and his life.

via sportsonearth.com
via sportsonearth.com

No one will ever know the reasoning these guys have to do what they do, act how they act, and know whats important to them in life. The are all guys who were given many opportunities to change their lives and change who they are. Rehab through the league or separate rehab are and were all options to these guys. Johnny Manziel entered rehab after the end of last season because he knew his drinking and parting would have led to a quick end of his career. Johnny now seems to be on the right path, only focused on football and competing to be the Browns starting quarterback for the 2015 season. I hope Manziel has that all behind him and is focused solely on football, though I loved Johnny Football and the college party boy swagger he brought to the field being a college kid myself, I hope and would rather see Manziel as a successful NFL player.

These guys gave up the American dream, just about everyone including myself will never understand why and what is important to these guys, and they now have to live with their decisions which have changed all their lives for the worse.