Michael Garcia - September 19, 2012
Aaron Hernandez was knocked out of the Patriots' game with the Cardinals in the first quarter with an ankle injury. After that, the New England offense sputtered. Hernandez had 910 yards receiving last year, along with 7 touchdowns. He's a vital part of the passing attack, even though Rob Gronkowski had more yards, touchdowns and publicity.
The loss of Hernandez dramatically changed the Patriots' plans, and they struggled badly without him until late in the game. NFL.com reports that the Pats won't have Hernandez back for at least a month after he suffered the lower ankle sprain.
The Pats are said to have signed former Pro-Bowl tight end Kellen Winslow Jr. to take Hernandez's spot on the roster. Winslow is a productive guy, but he also runs his mouth and speaks his mind. Two things that don't happen in New England.
Bill Belichick has brought in mouthy guys before and had it work; Randy Moss lit it up for the Patritots in his three full seasons, with 47 touchdowns and more than 3,500 yards. But the Pats brought in Chad Johnson last season and he managed 15 catches and 276 yards. So you never know which way it will go.
Winslow was in New England for a workout just before the season began, but they declined to sign him. Now with Hernandez out, Winslow has a chance to show he can still contribute and be a team guy, because even if he does well, he's not coming back to the Patriots next year.
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