In the eyes of the law, Aaron Hernandez is now an innocent man.

Aaron Hernandez is now technically an innocent man.  (Keith Bedford/The Boston Globe)

Aaron Hernandez is now technically an innocent man. (Keith Bedford/The Boston Globe)

In the eyes of the law, Aaron Hernandez is now an innocent man.

Judge Susan Garsh, who sentenced the disgraced ex-NFL star to life in prison three years ago for the 2013 Odin Lloyd murder, abated the verdict Tuesday. Under Massachusetts law, a defendant’s convictions are void if he didn’t exhaust all of his legal appeals upon his passing. Hernandez was in the process of appealing his first-degree murder conviction.

“Abatement is the law in this commonwealth and the court is required to follow that precedent,” Garsh said, via the Boston Herald’s Bob McGovern.

Prosecutors argued against the abatement, saying it would reward Hernandez for his suicide. Hernandez hanged himself in his cell April 20 at Souza-Baranowski Correctional Center in Shirley. He was acquitted of double-murder charges five days prior.

Garsh’s decision to vacate Hernandez’s verdict could carry broad implications for his estate, which is currently worthless. Lloyd’s mother filed a wrongful-death suit against Hernandez, and the families of Daniel de Abreu and Safiro Furtado, the victims in the aforementioned double murder, are planning to do the same. The Patriots may now be obligated to pay Hernandez the $3.5 million signing bonus they voided after the Lloyd arrest. New England could also owe Hernandez an additional $2.5 million in guaranteed salary.

In the suicide note to his fiancee, Shayanna Jenkins Hernandez, the former Patriots tight end wrote, “You’re Rich,” a possible reference to the money the Patriots may now be forced to pay his estate.

Blog Author: 
Alex Reimer

Two Patriots were included in the NFL’s Top 100 countdown Monday night as LeGarrette Blount was No. 80 and Julian Edelman was No. 71.

Edelman finished last season with 98 catches for 1,106 yards and three touchdowns. He moved up 16 spots from last year.

Julian Edelman was No. 71 in the NFL's Top 100. (Matthew Emmons/USA Today Sports)

Julian Edelman was No. 71 in the NFL’s Top 100. (Matthew Emmons/USA Today Sports)

Two Patriots were included in the NFL’s Top 100 countdown Monday night as LeGarrette Blount was No. 80 and Julian Edelman was No. 71.

Edelman finished last season with 98 catches for 1,106 yards and three touchdowns. He moved up 16 spots from last year.

“It’s always cool to be in this and see what the other guys think of you,” Edelman said on NFL Network. “As a competitor you always think you should be better than what you are. You strive to be better. Thankfully this a good team sport I get to play and these types of things don’t justify the kind of player you really are I don’t think.”

Blount also reacted by tweeting, “Not done yet.”

Blog Author: 
Ryan Hannable

Bill Belichick will need to get some questions answered this spring when it comes to the roster.</p>
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The Patriots have unveiled on their website uniform numbers for newly acquired players this offseason.

Brandin Cooks will wear No. 14 in New England. (Mark J. Rebilas/USA Today Sports)

Brandin Cooks will wear No. 14 in New England. (Mark J. Rebilas/USA Today Sports)

The Patriots have unveiled on their website uniform numbers for newly acquired players this offseason.

Some of the notables include Brandin Cooks, who was No. 10 in New Orleans, will wear No. 14 with the Patriots, and Stephon Gilmore will take over Cyrus Jones’ No. 24 and Jones will now wear No. 41.

Here is a complete list of the new numbers.

TE Dwayne Allen – 83
DL Josh Augusta – 72
RB Rex Burkhead – 34
DL Adam Butler – 70
WR Austin Carr – 84
WR Brandin Cooks – 14
OL Cole Croston – 70
RB LeShun Daniels – 39
DE Kony Ealy – 94
LB Brooks Ellis – 51
RB Mike Gillislee – 35
OT Antonio Garcia – 63
CB Stephon Gilmore – 24
DL Lawrence Guy – 93
WR Cody Hollister -81
TE Jacob Hollister – 48
TE Rob Housler – 86
OT Andrew Jelks – 76
CB Cyrus Jones – 41
DB David Jones – 34
CB D.J. Killings – 29
OL Jason King – 74
LB Harvey Langi – 48
WR Devin Lucien – 13
OT Conor McDermott – 67
DB Kenny Moore – 42
TE James O’Shaughnessy – 88
OL Max Rich – 72
DE Derek Rivers – 95
WR Devin Street – 17
CB Dwayne Thomas – 27
DB Jason Thompson – 26
DB Damarious Travis – 45
DE Corey Vereen – 59
DE Deatrich Wise – 91

Blog Author: 
Ryan Hannable
Deatrich Wise has been compared to former Patriots DE Chandler Jones. (Trevor Ruszkowski/USA Today Sports)

Deatrich Wise has been compared to former Patriots DE Chandler Jones. (Trevor Ruszkowski/USA Today Sports)

The Patriots only drafted four players in this year’s draft, but for the most part they were players who need a little more development and are not projected as impact players for the upcoming season.

In the third round New England selected defensive end Derek Rivers and offensive tackle Antonio Garcia. Then in the fourth round the team took defensive end Deatrich Wise, and finally its last selection came in the sixth round when it took Conor McDermott, an offensive tackle from UCLA.

Many might assume Rivers and Garcia are primed to make the biggest impact considering they were third-round picks, but in reality it could be Wise.

Rivers set the Youngstown State record with 41 career sacks, but it was FCS football. While Rivers is certainly talented, he may need a year to develop and get acclimated to the NFL and the increase in competition. Garcia also came from a small school in Troy, and is said to need some more work with his technique. The same goes for McDermott, who just started playing tackle two years ago.

This leaves Wise, who from this viewpoint is most primed for an impactful rookie season.

Wise played his college ball at Arkansas, so from a competition standpoint he is likely most prepared for the NFL. His best year came as a junior when he finished with eight sacks (all in conference play), which led the SEC. Also, he tied for 10th nationally in sacks per game against ranked opponents (1.13). He slipped a bit last season, but this could be connected to shoulder and hand injuries he dealt with early in the season.

Speaking to the New England media after being drafted, he said he’s heard comparisons to former Patriots defensive end Chandler Jones.

“I’ve watched him a few times,” Wise said. “I was also compared to him by a few people – similar body styles, similar play styles. We have long arms, we’re real good with our first step, great coming around the edge rushing the passer. He’s a relentless, aggressive player, and I model my game similar to his.”

Wise is also close with current Patriots defensive end Trey Flowers, so learning from him could lead to big things for the rookie.

For the most part the 2017 Patriots draft picks will be focused on developing more as players this year, with the exception of Wise, who with the right attitude has a real chance of contributing this season.

Blog Author: 
Ryan Hannable

One of the biggest things that comes with winning the Super Bowl is the rings, which the Patriots have always done a great job of designing over the years.

The Patriots reportedly will be getting their Super Bowl LI rings early next month.

Robert Kraft reportedly will be handing out Super Bowl LI rings next month. (Stew Milne/USA Today Sports)

Robert Kraft reportedly will be handing out Super Bowl LI rings next month. (Stew Milne/USA Today Sports)

One of the biggest things that comes with winning the Super Bowl is the rings, which the Patriots have always done a great job of designing over the years.

The Patriots reportedly will be getting their Super Bowl LI rings early next month.

According to Mike Reiss of ESPN, invitations recently went out to Patriots players to save the date of Friday, June 9 for when they will be receiving their Super Bowl LI rings.

Typically, this is a ceremony held at Robert Kraft’s house. June 9 is the day after mandatory minicamp concludes, so players on the 2017 team will already be in town.

At the last ring ceremony there was an issue involving Darrelle Revis and his mom not being allowed to attend the ceremony after the cornerback had signed with the Jets, but there likely will not be such an issue this year and should be a fun event for all involved.

For more Patriots news, visit weei.com/patriots.

Blog Author: 
WEEI