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July 25. 2013 8:44PM

Brady has moved on from Hernandez


New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady speaks with the media at the team's practice fields at Gillette Stadium on Thursday. (Stew Milne-USA TODAY Sports)

Tom Brady was guarded in his initial public comments on former teammate Aaron Hernandez, who faces murder charges and stood before a judge for a preliminary hearing on the day many of Brady’s teammates traveled to report to training camp.

“I think everyone had a certain range of emotions, whatever they might have been, but those were very personal, and I dealt with them,” Brady said. “Certainly, it’s a very tragic thing that happened. Someone loses their life. But all those things were out of the players’ control here. We’re not really part of that situation, so I don’t think it does a lot for us to get too much involved.”

Brady said the locker room is ready to move on. He was advised by team spokesman Stacey James not to directly respond to questions regarding his last contact with Hernandez, who was reportedly considering moving his offseason home to California, where Brady has traditionally hosted offseason workouts with his receivers.

Brady paused momentarily when asked if Hernandez called him or reached out after the incident.

“Stacey told me ... that’s a good question, but I’m just not supposed to comment on any of those things. I’m really not supposed to comment on Aaron.”

Brady said the players all have a responsibility to live up to the so-called Patriot Way, and cited specific leadership role models from past New England rosters, including Willie McGinest, Rodney Harrison, Kevin Faulk and Larry Izzo.

The rest of the roster now turns to Brady, 36, to guide them back into football. He welcomes the return to what is the new normal in New England.

“The fate of our season is going to be determined by the guys in this locker room and hopefully nothing else,” Brady said. “You talk about the Patriot Way, and to me that means mental toughness. It means dealing with different situations and adversities over the course of a season and offseason and how you can put those things behind you and focus on your job.”

Brady began the offseason answering questions about losing favorite receiver Wes Welker, had to talk about operating without Rob Gronkowski, the All-Pro tight end who went through multiple surgeries in the offseason, was quizzed about the presence of new arrival Tim Tebow and finally hit training camp with another hard-to-ignore distraction.

“Hopefully we can go out and do something our community can be really proud of,” Brady said.


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