Friday, July 26, 2013

Day 117: Patriots' Training Camp is Now in Session

Today marked the first official day of the New England Patriots 2013 Training Camp...yay! There are 42 days until the season opener against the Buffalo Bills on September 8th and I'm ridiculously excited for football! With all that's happened over the offseason, it will be nice to get back to some sense of normalcy. But I'm also a little nervous about what will happen with the somewhat new and slightly depleted receiving core.

The Aaron Hernandez disaster has cast a bit of a dark cloud over the start of training camp, but from the looks of it, the coaches and players are eager to put it behind them and get on with playing some football. On Wednesday, Coach Bill Belichick gave us more than anyone thought he would, and yesterday was the Patriots' captains' turn. Obviously under a gag order on what they could and couldn't say, each player chose their words to the press carefully.

It has obviously been tough for the players to accept what has happened. It must be hard to think about the former teammate you thought you knew being a murder suspect—a guy with whom you spent most of every day of the football season. I'm sure Robert Kraft isn't the only guy who's feeling duped right about now.
“At some point you have to move forward and I think we as a team are doing that,” Tom Brady said. “The best part is really coming out to start the football season and talking about what the challenges we have ahead of us. Certainly it’s been a challenging offseason, but we’re going to try to move forward as best we know how."
Vince Wilfork told reporters about the sign on the locker room wall: "Put your team first and do your job." This was obviously advice that Aaron Hernandez didn't heed. His actions were selfish and reckless with no thought given to how murdering someone (or someones) would not only affect his life, but the future of a team to which he made a commitment.
"Camp has started," Wilfork said, "It's tough, but at the same time, we have to continue to do our jobs. To start training camp on a note like this is tough. We're not going to disrespect anything that's going on with the families, but we have to play football."
Brady insists the ongoing saga hasn't had any negative repercussions on the team's morale—which is good news. Training camp has officially started and there's business to be done. Important football business that will be executed without the help of the former tight end turned murderer.

It's now about the football. 

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