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The Patriots suddenly have a great deal of uncertainty at tight end, a position that just six or seven months ago was a strength of the team, featuring perhaps the best tandem in the league in Rob Gronkowski and Aaron Hernandez.
But Gronkowski has just begun rehab from back surgery, and being tied to a murder investigation makes Hernandez’s immediate future cloudy.
So New England will turn to the five other tight ends on the roster — Jake Ballard, Daniel Fells, Michael Hoomanawanui, and rookies Zach Sudfeld and Brandon Ford —when training camp begins, hoping at least a couple of those players will be able to fill the void left if Hernandez and Gronkowski are unavailable.