New England Patriots head coach Bill Belichick did not offer any comment on questions regarding his text messages with former tight end Aaron Hernandez, who is charged with the murder of three individuals.
According to CBS Boston, the Patriots handed over 34 text messages exchanged between the two men and dated Dec. 2012 to April 2013 to prosecutors. Hernandez has since been charged with the murder of three individuals:
"Patriots head coach Bill Belichick was happy to talk about football on Wednesday as they opened training camp at Gillette Stadium.
"But he wanted no part in talking about Aaron Hernandez.
"Belichick's morning news conference ended with WBZ-TV's Christina Hager asking three questions regarding the former Patriots tight end and text messages that he exchanged with Belichick.
"'I think that was addressed by a lawyer last week, and I don't have any further comment on it,' Belichick replied.
"Last week, it was clarified that the Patriots turned over a total of 34 text messages between Belichick and Hernandez to prosecutors, and not 34 pages of texts as first reported, spanning between December 2012 and April 2013.
"When asked if he routinely texts with his players, Belichick again answered 'I don't have any further comment on it.'
"Hager closed by asking Belichick if he approaches players differently, to which he replied with another 'no further comment,' but this one was followed by a rather large grin by the head coach.
"Hernandez is currently being held in a Boston jail without bail in connection with three murders. He will stand trial in the murder of Odin Lloyd on January 9, 2015.
"He faces another trial in May 2015 for a 2012 double murder in the South End.
"Hernandez has pleaded not guilty to all of the charges."
Attorney Andrew Phelan issued a statement via The Boston Herald's Jeff Howe to clarify the text messages obtained from the Patriots:
"Earlier this week, a report indicated than an exchange of text messages between the team's head coach and Mr. Hernandez totaled 33 pages. While it is unknown how the texts were printed or displayed, I thought it was important to clarify that during an early investigation conducted by state prosecutors, the team produced a total of 34 text messages (not pages of texts) spanning a period of five months (December 2012 - April 2013) between the head coach and Mr. Hernandez."
In another team development, Belichick revealed tight end Rob Gronkowski has been cleared to play at the start of Patriots training camp, per ESPN Boston's Mike Weiss:
"New England Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski has been cleared to play by doctors and will not be placed on the active/physcially unable to perform list to open training camp, coach Bill Belichick said Wednesday.
"This puts Gronkowski in position to be ready for the regular-season opener Sept. 7 at Miami. He said last week that he plans to play the full 16-game schedule.
"Gronkowski, who was limited to seven games last season, underwent surgery on his right ACL on Jan. 9.
"'It's a positive,' said veteran offensive lineman Logan Mankins, one of the Patriots' captains. 'We were all hoping Gronk would have a good recovery, and so far he has. Any time you can have Gronk on the field, it's great.'
"The Patriots first training camp practice is Thursday. Gronkowski spent the majority of the offseason working out at the team's facility, yet his expected presence registers as a bit of a surprise.
"'I'm happy to see his progress and see him coming into this season and staying healthy; obviously, that's what everyone is talking about,' defensive end Rob Ninkovich said. 'I don't want to speak on his behalf, but he's one of the hardest-working guys I've ever seen as well.'
"Added Belichick: 'Rob's always worked hard when he's here.'"