July 25, 2013

Patriots Beat: Looking forward while learning from tragedy

Speaking for approximately 22 minutes in a press conference specifically called to address the Aaron Hernandez situation, the New England Patriots' coach was candid and very human.

By Mike Lowe mlowe@pressherald.com
Staff Writer

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New England Patriots head coach Bill Belichick speaks to reporters in Foxborough, Mass., on Wednesday. Starting with his opening statement, which lasted about seven minutes, it was obvious Belichick had been affected by the events of the last month.

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"Obviously this process is far from perfect, but it's one that we've used from 2000 until today."

There have been many instances throughout the years when Belichick has been less forthcoming to the media -- such as Spygate, when he essentially threatened to end a press conference unless the next question dealt with football and not allegations of cheating. But as more allegations about Hernandez came out on an almost daily basis, there was no way Belichick or the Patriots could ignore this situation.

On Thursday, the team -- in another unprecedented move -- will make the 2012 captains (Tom Brady, Vince Wilfork, Jerod Mayo, Devin McCourty, Logan Mankins and Matthew Slater) available to the media. Certainly, questions about Hernandez will be asked.

You can expect the answers to be similar to the one Brady gave to Sports Illustrated's Peter King, when asked about Hernandez: "I have moved on."

Belichick said as much Wednesday. Asked how this franchise can move forward, he spoke about the simple task ahead. Training camp opens Friday. There's a season to prepare for.

"I've been asked to address this once," said Belichick. "It's time for the New England Patriots to move forward.

"Moving forward consists of what's always been here: build a winning football team, be a strong pillar in the community, be a team that fans can be proud of."

That might take some doing this year, but Belichick understands that. And he wants the fans to know that the team is doing everything it can to regain that trust.

"We stress high character and we stress making good decisions," said Belichick. "We'll continue to do this and we'll work to do a better job of it as we go forward. We'll learn from this terrible experience that we've had. We'll become a better team from the lessons that we've learned."

Mike Lowe can be contacted at 791-6422 or at:

mlowe@pressherald.com

Twitter: MikeLowePPH

 

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