With Aaron Hernandez facing a murder charge and unable to get out of jail, the topic of the Patriots releasing their former tight end figures to loom large for the media this week when the team opens training camp.
“I have moved on,” Brady told the website. “I'm focusing on the great teammates I have who are committed to helping us win games. The only thing I care about is winning. Nothing is going to ever get in the way of that goal. I'm just excited to report to camp and see what we can accomplish as a team. The fate of our season will be determined by the players in our locker room -- nothing else.”
That's easier said than done, of course, and with Rob Gronkowski's status unknown for the time being -- he's currently on the Physically Unable to Perform list -- because of forearm and back injuries, the depth of New England's tight end corps has been drastically reduced.
For now, Jake Ballard, who reportedly did not impress during mini-camp, is on the PUP list as well, meaning Michael Hoomanawanui might be the No. 1 tight end at this point (and, ahem, you can't ever forget about Tim Tebow).
But even without Hernandez, Brady seems confident his team can overcome the obstacle.
“I've seen a lot of things over 13 years, and what I have learned is that mental toughness and putting aside personal agendas for what's in the best interest of the team matters most,” Brady said. “My job is to play quarterback, and I'm going to do that the best way I know how, because I owe that to my teammates regardless of who is out there on the field with me.”