FOXBORO -- Jonathan Kraft gave a few minutes of air time to 98.5 the Sports Hub before the preseason finale. The Patriots president took the floor to discuss Rolling Stone magazine's recent article about Aaron Hernandez, "Gangster in the Huddle."
Kraft, son of Patriots owner Robert Kraft, stated his objections plainly enough: "There were two, three or four things that are completely factually inaccurate."
One point from the story Kraft took exception to is the line stating Hernandez "skipped out on team training drills...." According to Kraft, Hernandez attended 25 of 33 sessions for something in the neighborhood of 80 percent participation. Though the number wasn't enough to earn an $82,000 offseason workout bonus (90 percent is required), Kraft said he didn't appreciate the magazine's slant. "They make it sound like he wasn't here at all, which is just not true."
Even more grievous is the idea that Hernandez, in fear for his life, went to coach Bill Belichick for help and received some questionable advice.
"[The article says] Bill's response was to tell him to get a safe house and lay low," Kraft scoffed. He continued on to say he saw Belichick Thursday and asked if Rolling Stone got it right. The coach's response? "Absolutely not. Aaron never told me his life was in danger."
Kraft further denied that Belichick ever threatened to cut Hernandez and explained that the coach was not the man in charge of the hiring of a new, and, according to the Rolling Stone story, a less vigilant, Patriots' security chief, when Mark Briggs, a stadium security expert from England, replaced former Massachusetts state trooper Frank Mendes.
The general impression is that the Patriots knew more about Hernandez's issues than they let on in the aftermath of the tight end's arrest. Fans and analysts alike wondered why New England would grant such a troubled player a five-year, $40 million extension.
Kraft's answer? They wouldn't.
"Our family doesn't like to do that. I can tell you BIll Belichick doesn't like doing it either," Kraft said. "Those cap dollars are precious. We have a lot of talented guys on our team. If we had known what people seem to think we had known about Aaron Hernandez, we never would have done that deal."