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Published On: Tue, Jul 9th, 2013

Patriots owner Robert Kraft still asserts the team was ‘duped’ by Aaron Hernandez

The New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft and former tight end Aaron Hernandez had a tight bond during the player’s three seasons with the team and Kraft says he feels ‘duped’ by the player.

Hernandez would often greet the owner with a kiss on the cheek and donated $50,000 to a charity created in honor of Kraft’s late wife.

Aaron Hernandez

Aaron Hernandez

Kraft said that the former Florida standout volunteered to take biweekly drug tests if the Patriots took a chance on him and that Hernandez informed him on draft night that the first jersey he ever owned was that of former New England quarterback Drew Bledsoe.

“He was a New England kid who was a Patriot,” Kraft said of the Connecticut native. “I thought it was cool.” 

So it’s no wonder that Kraft says that he and the rest of the organization were fooled if the murder charge against Hernandez is true.

“If this stuff is true, then I’ve been duped and our whole organization has been duped,” Kraft said to reporters. “When he was in our building, we never saw anything where he was not polite. He was always respectful to me. We only know what’s going on inside the building. We don’t put private eyes on people.”

These are Kraft’s first comments on the Hernandez case, despite being advised by his attorneys not to because it’s unclear whether the Lloyd family plans on suing the team.

But Kraft said it “is important that our fan base hear directly from our organization.”

Despite his fondness for the player, Kraft said he had no hesitation in releasing Hernandez as soon as he was arrested in connection with the death of 27-year-old Odin Lloyd, even though it means salary cap hits of $2.5 million this year and $7.5 million the following season.

“If any member of the New England Patriots organization is close enough to a murder investigation to actually get arrested — whether it be for obstruction of justice or the crime itself,” Kraft said, “it is too close to an unthinkable act for that person to be part of this organization going forward.”

“It was principle — over money or cap or anything else.”

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About the Author

- Roxanne "Butter" Bracco began with the Dispatch as Pittsburgh Correspondent, but will be providing reports and insights from Washington DC, Maryland and the surrounding region. Contact Roxie aka "Butter" at [email protected] ATTN: Roxie or Butter Bracco

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