Hernandez comes up big after fumble

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Hernandez comes up big after fumble

FOXBORO -- If the failure of Chad Ochocinco to become an important cog in New England's offense isn't as big a deal as you may have expected, it's because there's no lack of offensive weapons on the field when the Patriots have the ball.

One of those weapons is Aaron Hernandez.

The second-year tight end is coming into his own this season, even after suffering an MCL injury which put him out of action for two weeks.

To those paying attention in training camp, Hernandez' production should be no surprise. He was Brady's go-to guy, it seemed.

Through six weeks of the regular season, Brady doesn't have just one "go-to guy." He has multiple. But through six weeks, Hernandez has certainly been near the top of his list.

"Hes done a lot of good things," said Brady after Sunday's 20-16 win over the Dallas Cowboys at Gillette Stdaium. "Hes really become a dependable player. He runs very good routes. Coach Bill Belichick always says, A receiver should get open, catch the ball and then do something with it after they catch it. And Aaron has really done all three of those things. Hes really made a big jump from his first year to his second year and thats why hes out there at the end of the game."

Against the Cowboys, Hernandez had a team-high and career-high eight receptions for 68 yards, which included the game-winning touchdown with 22 seconds left in the fourth quarter.

It marked his second game back from that MCL injury, and as a result, his second-straight game wearing a knee-brace.

But even with the brace, Hernandez hasn't been a liability. He did, however, cough up a ball late in the third quarter of a 13-13 game against the Cowboys. It didn't result in any points for Dallas, but it was something the young tight end knew he had to put in the past quickly, considering his importance to the offense in a close game.

"Everyone's going to have drops, and you've just got to keep your head up," said Hernandez. "And I tried to keep my head up this week and make a play for Tom Brady.

"As a young player, you tend to think about it and be down about it," added Hernandez on his turnover. "But you have people like Tom and coaches that say, 'Forget about it, let's keep going.' And I just forgot about it, kept going, and Tom threw a great pass, and I just made a play for him."

That "great pass" capped a two-minute drill that led to a Patriots win, as Brady found Hernandez in the back-middle of the end zone for the touchdown.

"He was able to redeem himself today," said Patriots coach Bill Belichick. "Luckily, he got that chance. That opportunity doesnt always come again. Weve just got to do a better job of taking care of the ball, period. Two fumbles, two interceptions youre not going to win many games with four turnovers. We were fortunate today, but we wont last doing that."

If Hernandez can continue to be a dependable receiver, the sky's the limit. His tight-end size, combined with his wide-receiver speed makes him as dependable as they come in the NFL.

And in case you weren't counting, he's not the only tight end on the Patriots' offense that's dependable. Rob Gronkowski is also deserving of being called another one of New England's dangerous offensive weapons.

Gronkowski had 7 catches for 74 yards on Sunday. And he's just one of the reasons Hernandez is able to get open so often.

"We've just got a lot of good players out there," said Hernandez. "We've got Wes Welker, Deion Branch, Ocho, me, Gronkowski. So many weapons, and it's tough to cover all of us, especially when you've got a quarterback who's going to put it in the right spot.

"Gronkowski can do so many things, he makes it easy on me," added Hernandez. "We work off each other. He gives me energy. I give him energy. When they double him, I'm open, and when they double me, he's open. So it's just a great combination."

And both Brady and Hernandez are taking full advantage of it.

Affleck offers passionate Brady defense when asked about Deflategate

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Affleck offers passionate Brady defense when asked about Deflategate

When the topic of Deflategate was broached on HBO's Any Given Wednesday with Bill Simmons, which debuted this week, Ben Affleck became all kinds of fired up.

"What they did was suspend Tom Brady for four days for not giving them his [expletive] cellphone," Affleck said. "I would never give an organization as leak-prone as the NFL my [expletive] cellphone . . . so you can just look through my emails and listen to my voicemails?"

Affleck grew up in Cambridge, Mass. and is a passionate Patriots fan. He made no attempts to hide his fandom, and his appreciation for Brady, as he and Simmons (also a Patriots fan) discussed the football-deflation controversy that has now lasted well over a year. 

Affleck, who said he would want to cast himself as Brady if ever a Deflategate movie was made, harped on the fact that the league wanted Brady to turn over his phone. 

"Maybe Tom Brady is so [expletive] classy and such a [expletive] gentleman," Affleck said, "that he doesn’t want people to know that he may have reflected on his real opinion on some of his co-workers."

Brady is waiting for the Second Circuit to make a decision as to whether or not it will rehear his case against the NFL. Earlier this offseason, the Second Circuit reinstated Brady's four-game suspension issued by the league when a three-judge panel ruled in favor of the NFL, 2-1. 

Pro Football Talk wrote on Thursday that a decision from the Second Circuit could come at any time. If the rehearding request is denied, Brady could then take the case to the Supreme Court. Should the Second Circuit grant Brady a rehearing, his suspension would be delaed until the court reached a decision. In that case, Brady could potentially play the entire 2016 season before a decision came to pass. 

Brady posts high school essay to Facebook on living in his sisters' shadow

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Brady posts high school essay to Facebook on living in his sisters' shadow

Tom Brady wasn't always the most famous person in his family. Growing up, his sisters were the accomplished athletes in the household. 

For his latest Throwback Thursday style Facebook post, Brady published a pair of photos of an old high school essay that he wrote in the fall of his senior year in 1994. It was titled "The way my sisters influenced me."

I found an essay I wrote in 1994... I love my big sisters! #tbt. Thanks for the good grade Mr Stark!

Posted by Tom Brady on Thursday, June 23, 2016

In it, he discusses some of the difficulties of growing up with three older sisters and no brothers. Because Maureen, Julie and Nancy Brady had achieved so much in softball, basketball and soccer, Brady -- or "Tommy," as he signed his paper -- had trouble getting noticed. 

Of course, it wouldn't be long before Brady was headed from San Mateo, California to Ann Arbor, Michigan in order to play football for the Wolverines. He probably had no trouble garnering attention by then. Still, it's funny to read about how he felt overlooked in his youth. 

He closed the essay explaining that he knew his sisters would always provide him support throughout his life, adding, "hopefully, just maybe, one day people will walk up to them and say, 'Aren't you Tommy's sister?' or 'Hey where is your brother?' Maybe . . . "

If the Brady sisters didn't get those kinds of comments by the time the baby of the family was given an 'A' for his English assignment, it probably didn't take long before they did. About seven years later, he took over as the starting quarterback of the Patriots.