FOXBORO -- Aaron Hernandez may have returned to the practice field October 4, but in two weeks he didn't once talk with reporters about his ankle sprain. Par for the course when it comes to the Patriots and injuries.
But that changed Thursday.
The tight end finally saw game action, playing 38 of 87 offensive snaps last weekend in Seattle. Three days before trying his luck against the Jets, Hernandez spoke with the press about going down, sitting out, and coming back.
How did it feel to get back out there Sunday?
AH: "I felt pretty good. It was good to be out there and help the team."
AH: "I came out healthy, and hopefully I'll come out healthy this week."
How difficult was it to be sidelined for three weeks?
AH: "Obviously, it was tough. Especially when you live to play football, you've been doing it your whole life. You want to play, you want to help the team. And that's why I came back."
Did you feel like you hit the ground running?
AH: "That's the only thing you could do. Maybe I was a step slower, but I felt pretty good and look forward to getting better."
What was your initial reaction to the injury itself?
AH: "I know we have a great training staff and I know they're going to work hard to get us back, especially under Bill's supervision. So I knew I was going to have a quick recovery and came back pretty good."
But when you first went down and you were holding the ankle, how bad did you think it was?
AH: "Broke. But it healed and I'm better now."
Was there any thought to play against Denver after your first week back at practice?
AH: "I don't think I was ready. Obviously I wanted to but it wasn't the right thing to do. Coach made a decision that next week would be best and I played the next week."
When did you know you were ready to return?
AH: "Coach said I could play. Laughs."
Does going to the ground after a tackle and coming back up okay help you get into the groove?
AH: "It's all about confidence. Got more practice time in and gained some more confidence in cutting off the ankle because I cut a lot. So I gained some confidence and it made me feel comfortable going out and playing a game."
Catching Tom Brady's first pass Sunday must have helped.
AH: "Yeah, when you're out there on the field you kind of forget about everything and just hope for the best. Once I caught that first pass I got back into the game and wanted the ball some more."
Any worry about setbacks?
AH: "You get nervous at times, but it's feeling great so it's really nothing to worry about anymore. If it gets hurt then it's the man above. But I guess I'll be all right."