Re: Robert Kraft, Duper or Dupee?
posted at 7/13/2013 1:34 PM EDT
You know what?
Not one of us in here were whining about AH when he was making the plays. I don't recall any discussions about the Patriots being "duped" when he was playing.
New England Patriots
Hernandez was drafted by the New England Patriots in the fourth round (113th overall) of the 2010 NFL Draft. The previous day, the Patriots drafted another tight end, Rob Gronkowski. Shortly after he was drafted, The Boston Globe reported Hernandez had admitted to marijuana use and had failed multiple drug tests while in college, causing his draft stock to drop. Later that day, the Patriots released a statement from Hernandez, who said he had failed only one drug test while in college and was candid about it to interested teams at the NFL Scouting Combine.
Hernandez signed a four-year contract on June 8, 2010. The contract included a signing bonus of $200,000—less than half the bonus received by Patriots fourth-round pick placekicker Stephen Gostkowski in 2006. To compensate for the small signing bonus, the deal also includes a series of roster and workout bonuses that add up to an additional $700,000, which means that "Hernandez can wind up getting the money a third-rounder would over four years, but he's gotta walk the straight and narrow line to do so."
Hernandez started the 2010 season as the youngest player on any active roster in the NFL. In Week 2, against the New York Jets, he caught six passes for 101 yards, making him the youngest player since 1960 to have 100 yards receiving in a single game. In the Patriots' Week 3 victory over the Buffalo Bills, Hernandez led all Patriots receivers with six catches for 65 yards, and had one rush for 13 yards. In the Patriots' Week 9 loss against the Cleveland Browns, Hernandez caught his first career touchdown on a one-yard pass from quarterback Tom Brady, and added another touchdown later in the game. In Week 15, Hernandez caught two touchdown passes from Brady in a win over the Green Bay Packers, earning Hernandez Pepsi NFL Rookie of the Week honors. He finished the 2010 season with 45 receptions for 563 yards and six touchdowns in 14 games played (7 starts).
For his first season in the NFL, Hernandez wore the #85 jersey. In July 2011 during training camp, wide receiver Chad Johnson came to the team from a trade with the Cincinnati Bengals. Hernandez immediately let Johnson, who then legally had his last name as "Ochocinco" based on his uniform number, have the #85, choosing to go back to his college number of #81, which had been taken by Randy Moss from 2007 until his mid-season trade to the Vikings in 2010.
Through Week 15, Hernandez played in 12 of the Patriots' 14 games, starting 10; for the second season in a row, Hernandez missed two regular-season games with a knee injury. He set career bests in receptions and yards in Week 15, against the Denver Broncos, with nine catches for 129 yards and one touchdown.
Hernandez and teammate Rob Gronkowski are the first pair of tight ends in NFL history to score at least five touchdowns each in consecutive seasons for the same team; both rank in the top 20 among all receivers in number of catches. In December 2011, Hernandez was named a Pro Bowl alternate during the season. In the NFL playoffs, Hernandez had the longest run of the postseason, a 42-yard run against the Denver Broncos on the Patriots' first offensive drive of the game. Hernandez led the Patriots to Super Bowl XLVI but the Patriots lost the game to the Giants 17-21.
Hernandez was sidelined during the Patriot's Week 2 game against the Arizona Cardinals with a high ankle sprain and missed several weeks. On December 10, during the Monday Night Football game against the Houston Texans, Hernandez recorded 8 receptions for 58 yards and two touchdowns.
At the start of the 2011 season, Hernandez was one of only two tight ends on the roster; the other was his fellow 2010 draftee Rob Gronkowski.
Although Hernandez's stats were eclipsed by Gronkowski's, Hernandez still ranked in the top 5 in receptions, yards, and touchdowns among tight ends; according to NBC Sports, Hernandez and Gronkowski are the first pair of tight ends in NFL history to catch 5 touchdown passes in consecutive seasons with the same team. In 2011 they also set NFL records for yardage, receptions, and touchdowns by tight ends on one team, combining for 169 receptions, 2,237 yards, and 24 touchdowns. The previous records for receptions and yards by tight ends on a single team was set in 1984 by the San Diego Chargers, who had four tight ends combine for 163 receptions and 1,927 yards; the 24 touchdowns eclipsed the record of 18 touchdowns caught by Gronkowski, Hernandez, and Alge Crumpler in 2010.
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We were ALL duped. As long as the guy was on the field, he was more than OK. The AH/Gronk combo had a lot of NFL teams considering a TE tandom like that. BB was more than once credited with drafting AH when he fell to them in the draft. Make no mistake, there was surely another NFL team that would have taken him very soon if we had passed.
Smoking doobies in a van down by the river? A 20 year old kid in college? Name a kid in college who ISN'T doing just that? Let's face it, college is Party Central. I think a lot of NFL teams realize that players in college are not there for just the academics. I also think colleges could perhaps do more in the accountabilty department for students there on a sports scholarship. You want a free college education? You have to do more than just play football. You have to be accountable too.
Instead of trying to somehow lay this on Kraft or BB, why not start where the trouble begins? College programs need to start showing zero tolerance for off field behavior that can be seen as signs of trouble in a student/player. A wink and a nod is not cutting it. Let's start to see colleges step it up in that regard. Instead we see them letting seedlings of trouble grow into bigger trouble. The NFL then drafts these kids that have been treated with kid gloves and sudden;y it's the NFL's fault. No, the only one responsible for AH's actions is AH himself. I wonder if there were some kind of mentorship or accountability program in place at Florida would have resulted in a different AH? We'll never know but, maybe we should start prepping these kids in college for the NFL. Maybe we should be stepping in and holding them accountable for their actions before they get bigger and bigger. Discipline is one thing, but actually implementing it is another. There should be big time discipline for even small offenses in college programs.
But again, we were ALL duped. Nobody here complained about AH's performance as a Patriot. Now we have the "I told you so!" types pointing fingers at Kraft and BB and the entire Patriots organization. Everyone looked at AH's past as just that. The past. Nobody can predict the future. Mr. Kraft appears to be a man that believes in giving people a second chance. He gave that to AH. AH performed on the field admirably.
We still need to give people second and even third chances to redeem themselves. We can't give up on people who've made mistakes just because AH did this. I even think Dennard deserves another chance. Let the NFL and Goodell do what they must but, let's not lump Dennard in with AH either.