FOXBOROUGH, Mass. — Calling it a “sad day,” New England Patriots head coach Bill Belichick addressed the media Wednesday for the first time since one of his former players, Aaron Hernandez, was arrested and charged with murder.
Speaking for 22 minutes, Belichick spoke about a number of issues involving Hernandez, the organization and how it will move forward in the wake of the charges against Hernandez.
He said Hernandez’ name just once – in his opening statement – and refused to answer any questions specifically about the former tight end, saying he was “advised not to comment on any ongoing legal proceedings.”
But, he began, “It’s a sad day, it really is a sad day on so many levels.” He added, “A young man lost his life, his family has suffered a tragic loss. There’s no way to understate that.”
He added that he was “personally hurt and disappointed by the situation.”
Belichick said the team will continue to look at the way it evaluates players, using a system that has been in place since 2000. “Obviously the process is far from perfect,” he said.
But with training camp opening on Friday, and veterans reporting on Thursday, Belichick said it was “time for the New England Patriots to move on.”
Asked what that meant, he said, “Moving forward consists of what it’s always been here: Build a winning football team, be a strong pillar in community, be a team that fans can be proud of.”
While Belichick was holding his press conference, Hernandez was back in Attleboro (Mass.) District Court. He has pleaded not guilty in the death of Odin Lloyd.
Hernandez, who had signed a five-year, $40 million contract extension with the Patriots on Aug. 27, 2012, was arrested and charged with first-degree murder on June 26. He was released by the Patriots within an hour of his arrest.