Were the Patriots duped? Dan Leberfeld

Robert Kraft told Ben Volin of the Boston Globe the Patriots organization feels “duped” by Aaron Hernandez. Let’s take a closer look at this . . .

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I’m not saying the Patriots could have predicted a player becoming a murder suspect. That is unfair.

But when you look at this player’s track record, to say you were “duped,” is hard to totally embrace. There were red flags all over the place.

One of Kraft’s long-time players, retired left tackle Matt Light, didn’t seem “duped,” when asked about Hernandez following the murder charges.

“I never talk about other guys, but I will say I have never embraced – never believed in – anything Aaron Hernandez stood for,” Light told Tom Archdeacon of the Dayton Daily News.

Light retired after the 2011 season, so he played with Hernandez for two seasons.

And Wes Welker can tell you about Hernandez’s vicious temper.

According to Shalize Manza-Young of the Boston Globe, shortly after the Patriots picked Hernandez in the 2010 draft, he was at the team’s complex, and was struggling figuring out how to use a piece of equipment, and asked Welker for help, and the receiver said, “Rookie, you figure it out.”

Hernandez exploded with an expletive-laced reaction.

And Hernandez’s track record at the University of Florida was awful.

Shortly after he arrived on campus, he was questioned in connection with a shooting outside of a bar.

Also shortly after he got there, he punched a restaurant worker trying to collect money from Hernandez.

“According to a 2007 police report obtained Monday by The Wall Street Journal, Hernandez had a brush with the law at Florida before he’d even played a down,” wrote the Wall Street Journal. “On April 28, 2007, only months after Hernandez had enrolled at Florida, he showed up at a restaurant.

“A waitress brought Hernandez two “alcoholic drinks.” After Hernandez finished the drinks, a restaurant employee named Michael Taphorn delivered a bill. Hernandez said he hadn’t ordered the drinks and refused to pay, at which point a ‘verbal altercation’ began between the two men.

“After stepping outside, Hernandez told police Taphorn ‘got in his face’ and began yelling at him. As Taphorn turned to walk away, Hernandez punched him in the side of the head—a fact Hernandez didn’t dispute.

“Taphorn complained of hearing loss in his ear but refused medical treatment on the scene, the report said. The next day, however, doctors discovered his right eardrum had burst, an injury he was told would take four to six weeks to heal, according to the police report.”

According to published reports. Tim Tebow attempted to break up this fight.

After the Patriots picked Hernandez, an NFL executive told the Boston Globe that the tight end had failed 4-6 drug tests (for pot) in college.

“It was pretty well known that he had failed some drug tests at Florida, and there were questions about his maturity that come along with that,” a scout told the Globe. “You worried about the people he hung out with.”

So to say the Patriots were “duped” as to what this guy was all about, is hard to buy.

Like I said, I’m not saying the Patriots saw a murder on the horizon. That would be unfair.

However, considering this guy’s long history of bad behavior, the Patriots shouldn’t act like some well-behaved guy all of a sudden became a heinous criminal.

But one thing you have to know about Kraft – he is brilliant at charming the Boston media – brilliant.

The Jets (and other teams) could learn a thing or two about Kraft’s ability to tame the wild dogs in the press.

To his credit, Kraft has so many reporters, in a very tough media market, in the palm of his hand.

Saying the Pats were “duped” is a smart way to spin it.

I’m not buying it, but perhaps many in the New England media will.

Kraft has a spell over many of them.

July 8, 2013

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