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As the Patriots opened up training camp on Thursday, people were anxious to hear from members of the team their thoughts on their former teammate, Aaron Hernandez, who is facing a first degree murder charge. Owner Robert Kraft has already opened up about feeling “duped” by Hernandez and coach Bill Belichick expressed his sympathy for the victim’s family and said it was a sad day for the organization to have one of their players involved in a murder investigation. Many were anxiously awaiting to hear from quarterback and captain Tom Brady, who has only spoken to Peter King of sports Illustrated since the Hernandez arrest.
Brady finally addressed members of the media on Thursday to share his thoughts on Hernandez. Brady’s main message was that despite having a challenging off-season, the team is moving forward the best way they know how and focusing on the upcoming season. Brady did take time to answer some personal questions about his emotions in regards to the Hernandez situation.
When asked about his initial reaction to hearing of Hernandez’s arrest, Brady stated, “those feelings were personal and I’m sure they were like everyone else’s. He elaborated on his emotions by saying, “I think everyone had a certain range of emotions, and those were really personal, and I’ve dealt with them.” He called the situation a “terrible thing that happened” and continued to say, “Look, in the city of Boston this year, what happened in the marathon, these are very terrible things that you wish never happen to anybody. There’s a very human, compassionate element that we all have, and when it’s someone that’s been on our team, it’s a very sad thing. I think that we, as a team, have tried to move forward with better awareness and understanding of these type of things.”
Brady continued to say that this was a “real life situation that everyone has had to deal with,” but emphasized the team is moving forward as a unit and focusing on football. Brady explained how he is moving on by saying, “at some point I have to get back to doing my job.” He emphasized his role as team captain and his responsibility to his team and the importance of leading by example. As for the Patriots, Brady says the team is “focused on our job and what we have to do to come out and win football games. Certainly, it’s a very tragic thing that happened and someone loses their life. But all of those things were out of the players’ control here. We’re not really apart of that situation so I don’t think it does a lot for us to get involved here.” He also expressed how the team is really taking the lead from Kraft and Belichick.
As for his relationship with Hernandez, Brady only commented that their relationship was within the confines of Gillette stadium and as teammates. He also held Hernandez responsible for his own actions saying that, ” everyone is ultimately accountable for their own decision making.”
On a more positive note, Brady named several former teammates including Tedy Brushci and Troy Brown as players that exemplified what it meant to put on that Patriots jersey and represent the team in the community. When asked if he believes the Patriot way is still alive, he responded, “To win football games and to represent the community? No question. I think that’s what we show up here for everyday. Brady discussed the importance of re-establishing what the team has been working on so hard for over the past years and to not let the actions of one man overshadow or tarnish the accomplishments of an entire organization.”