June 21, 2018
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Pats’ Hernandez questioned in homicide case

By The Sports Xchange, Special to the BDN

Police questioned New England Patriots tight end Aaron Hernandez on Monday in connection with a homicide case in Massachusetts, SI.com reported Tuesday.

Investigators were interested in searching Hernandez’s home in North Attleboro, about a mile from where a body was found Monday and about 40 miles south of Boston. A vehicle registed in Hernandez’s name was considered a piece of evidence, according to the report. But Hernandez is not believed to be a suspect.

ABC News reported that Hernandez was uncooperative with police and that the dead man could be an associate of Hernandez. SI.com reported that Hernandez had sought advice from an attorney.

A 27-year-old Boston man would found Monday by a jogger in an industrial park clearing in an area not far from Hernandez’s residence. Television trucks were parked outside his home on Tuesday.

The Sun Chronicle of Attleboro indicated that a rented 2013 Chevrolet Suburban with Rhode Island license plates was connected to the possible homicide. The vehicle is linked to Hernandez, the newspaper reported.

Bristol County District Attorney Sam Sutter confirmed the body was found but provided no other details.

Hernandez, 23, was limited by injuries last season and played in 10 games for the Patriots. He caught 51 passes for 483 yards and five touchdowns. The 2010 fourth-round pick from Florida has 175 career receptions for 1,956 yards and 18 touchdowns.

Gronkowski has surgery

New England Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski underwent successful back surgery on Tuesday in Marina Del Rey, Calif., according to his brother.

Gordie Gronkowski Jr. tweeted the news Tuesday afternoon, adding “Goin to be scary to see u play when ur not in pain!” The procedure was performed by Dr. Robert Watkins, who also operated on Gronkowski’s back in 2009 while he was at the University of Arizona.

Tuesday’s surgery was not the same microdiscectomy that was performed while Gronkowski was in college.

Gronkowski has had five surgeries since November. Four were on a fractured left forearm and subsequent infection, the latest last month. With the rehab from the back surgery, it’s uncertain whether Gronkowski will be ready by the start of the 2013 season.

Gronkowski has 38 touchdowns in his three seasons with the Patriots.

Spikes makes debut

Tim Tebow wasn’t the only former Florida Gator making headlines at the Patriots minicamp.

While seemingly the entire media world was convening on Foxborough after New England signed the former Heisman Trophy winner to be its third-string quarterback in minicamp, linebacker Brandon Spikes was also making his offseason debut on the practice field with his teammates.

Spikes, the former second-round pick who is entering the final season of his rookie contract, had not taken part in the New England offseason program or voluntary OTA workouts this spring at Gillette Stadium. Instead, the run-stuffing middle linebacker has worked out and rehabbed a knee injury in his home state of Florida to work out at Bommarito Performance.

“Honestly I just felt like I was trying to put myself in the best position to compete for a spot on the team and also to help this team win a championship,” Spikes said after his first minicamp practice. “You guys know me; I frequently do things a little different than everybody else. I don’t think that’s bad or a shocker. Honestly, if everybody in this world was a conformist it would be one boring place.”

While the linebacker is well within his rights to skip OTAs under CBA rules, he was the only Patriots player to not take part in the practices or at least spend time at Gillette rehabbing. As such, what was coach Bill Belichick’s reaction to Spikes staying away this spring?

“It is what it is,” Belichick said, unleashing one of his favored cliche responses. “We all know what the rules and the guidelines are and that’s what they are. “It is what it is. We don’t make the rules.”

One thing that Belichick and the Patriots do control to some degree is Spikes’ future with the team. Coming off by far his most productive season, Spikes is likely looking to build on his 128 tackles, five forced fumbles, seven passes defensed and a sack from a year ago to hit the contract jackpot next offseason.

As such, he was asked if his absence from OTAs was related to his contract or if had any issues with his contract.

“Now you know I can’t speak on that,” Spikes responded with an uncomfortable smile. “Why would you ask me that? No comment guys. No comment.”

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