The Patriots' 2017 schedule is out. (WEEI.com)

The Patriots’ 2017 schedule is out. (WEEI.com)

The 2017 NFL schedule has officially been released.

The biggest game on the schedule for the Patriots is the season opener hosting the Chiefs, which had been rumored over the last several weeks. A Super Bowl rematch will be Oct. 22 on Sunday Night Football at Gillette Stadium.

The biggest thing that stands out is five out of the last six games will be division games.

Here is the complete schedule.

Week 1: Thursday, Sept. 7 vs. Chiefs, 8:30
Week 2: Sunday, Sept. 17 at Saints, 1:00
Week 3: Sunday, Sept. 24 vs. Texans, 1:00
Week 4: Sunday, Oct. 1 vs. Panthers, 1:00
Week 5: Thursday, Oct. 5 at Buccaneers, 8:25
Week 6: Sunday, Oct. 15 at Jets, 1:00
Week 7: Sunday, Oct. 22 vs. Falcons, 8:30
Week 8: Sunday, Oct. 29 vs. Chargers, 1:00
Week 9: Bye
Week 10: Sunday, Nov. 12 at Broncos, 8:30
Week 11: Sunday, Nov. 19 at Raiders in Mexico City, 4:15
Week 12: Sunday, Nov. 26 vs. Dolphins, 1:00
Week 13: Sunday, Dec. 3 at Bills, 1:00
Week 14: Monday, Dec. 11 at Dolphins, 8:30
Week 15: Sunday, Dec. 17 at Steelers, 4:25
Week 16: Sunday, Dec. 24 vs. Bills, 1:00
Week 17: Sunday, Dec. 31 vs. Jets, 1:00

Blog Author: 
Ryan Hannable

According to the Worcester DA, Aaron Hernandez’s death officially is a suicide.

Aaron Hernandez's death officially has been ruled a suicide. (Pool photo by Keith Bedford/The Boston Globe)

Aaron Hernandez’s death officially has been ruled a suicide. (Pool photo by Keith Bedford/The Boston Globe)

According to the Worcester DA, Aaron Hernandez’s death officially is a suicide.

Per a release Thursday afternoon, Hernandez was locked in his cell at 8 p.m. Tuesday night and no one entered the cell until a correctional officer observed him at 3:03 a.m. and forced his way into cell as the door was blocked with cardboard jammed into the track.

Upon entry investigators found three hand-written notes next to a bible. There was no sign of a struggle and Hernandez was the only person in the cell.

Hernandez’s brain will now be released to BU’s CTE center for investigation, per a family request.

According to Chris Villani of the Boston Herald, the notes were letters to his daughter and fiancée, saying he loved them and would see them in heaven.

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

Blog Author: 
Ryan Hannable
Tom Brady played with Aaron Hernandez for three seasons. (Kirby Lee/USA Today Sports)

Tom Brady played with Aaron Hernandez for three seasons. (Kirby Lee/USA Today Sports)

While it’s apparent the Patriots were largely ignorant of Aaron Hernandez’s turbulent off-field life, Tom Brady expressed concern about the deceased NFL star years ago.

In an NFL SoundFX video from 2011, which the New York Post recently unearthed, Brady is seen talking with Tim Tebow at the conclusion of a Broncos-Patriots matchup that year. At one point, Brady brings up Hernandez and linebacker Brandon Spikes, both of whom played with Tebow at the University of Florida.

“I’m trying to watch over Aaron and Brandon,” Brady said to the Heisman Trophy winner.

“I appreciate that, too, man,” Tebow replied. “They’re good guys.”

Before they separated, Brady said the two troubled players were “a lot to handle.”

While he was playing in college, Hernandez was questioned in connection to a shooting in Gainesville, Fla. He also allegedly punched a bouncer, despite Tebow’s reported efforts to stop him.

After falling to the fourth-round in the 2010 NFL Draft, Hernandez enjoyed three successful seasons in New England, landing a $40 million contract extension. But then it all went south.

In June 2013, Hernandez was taken into custody for the Odin Lloyd shooting. He was convicted of first-degree murder in the case and sentenced to life in prison. On Wednesday, five days after Hernandez was acquitted of a separate double murder charge, he was found dead in his prison cell due to an apparent suicide. In a statement, the Massachusetts Department of Correction said Hernandez hanged himself with a bed sheet attached to his window.

An investigation into Hernandez’s death is ongoing.

Blog Author: 
Alex Reimer
The Patriots appear to be be very interested in UConn DB Obi Melifonwu. (Brian Spurlock/USA Today Sports)

The Patriots appear to be be very interested in UConn DB Obi Melifonwu. (Brian Spurlock/USA Today Sports)

The Patriots are continuing their trend of meeting with some of the top players in the 2017 draft despite currently not having a selection until the third round.

According multiple reports, defensive back Obi Melifonwu met privately on Thursday with the Patriots at UConn. The Patriots are also said to have met with him around his pro day last month.

Melifonwu started all 12 games at safety for the Huskies last season. Standing 6-foot-4, 224 pounds he may be too big to play cornerback, but could be a versatile safety. He finished this past season with a team-high 128 tackles and four interceptions.

The South Grafton, Massachusetts native will surely be off the board by the time the Patriots pick at No. 72 overall, so this adds to the narrative the Patriots plan on moving up into the first or second round, which likely would be because of a Malcolm Butler trade.

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

Blog Author: 
Ryan Hannable

Tom Brady is on the receiving end of another accolade.

Aaron Hernandez’s family will donate his brain to the Boston University CTE Center for research, his attorney Jose Baez said at a

The Patriots are continuing their trend of meeting with some of the top players in the 2017 draft despite currently not having a selection until the third round.

Aaron Hernandez played three seasons for the Patriots before getting charged with first-degree murder for the Odin Lloyd shooting. (Photo by Jared Wickerham/Getty Images)

Aaron Hernandez played three seasons for the Patriots before getting charged with first-degree murder for the Odin Lloyd shooting. (Photo by Jared Wickerham/Getty Images)

Aaron Hernandez’s family will donate his brain to the Boston University CTE Center for research, his attorney Jose Baez said at a press conference Thursday.

Baez, who vowed Wednesday to conduct his own investigation into Hernandez’s apparent suicide, claims the Medical Examiner’s Office is illegally holding onto the deceased NFL star’s brain.

“The culture of misconduct and the culture of negligence that goes on in this town is befuddling,” he said to reporters. “It’s unbelievable they would engage in this type of conduct, especially when everyone is watching.”

State officials released the rest of Hernandez’s body to a funeral home Thursday, but declined to share more details about his death. The Correction Department hasn’t shared the incident report, officers’ logs or video footage from Hernandez’s cell.

According to Baez, the Hernandez family expected to receive the brain Thursday morning so they could give it to BU.

“The Medical Examiner’s office shouldn’t be allowed to play amateur hour,” he said.

When asked if he believes CTE played a role in Hernandez’s death, Baez demurred.

“Here’s the one thing you have to understand,” he said. “When you conduct an investigation, you don’t look for a specific result. You go to where the evidence takes you. We’re very lucky that Boston University is right here in our backyard and we want to take full advantage of the resources.”

While Baez didn’t outwardly reject the Department of Corrections’ conclusion that Hernandez killed himself, he expressed doubt about the veracity of the state’s investigation.

“Why are so quick to accept their word?,” he asked. “Especially when you look at the history of this case and the history of what went on in the court room.”

Hernandez was acquitted on double murder charges Friday, five days before he was found dead inside of his prison cell at the Souza-Baranowski Correctional Center in Shirley. Earlier Thursday, Governor Charlie Baker also expressed support for an investigation into Hernandez’s death, but said he trusts the DOC to handle it properly.

Blog Author: 
Alex Reimer
Tom Brady has been named to Time's list of 100 'most influential people.' (Greg M. Cooper/USA Today Sports)

Tom Brady has been named to Time’s list of 100 ‘most influential people.’ (Greg M. Cooper/USA Today Sports)

Tom Brady is on the receiving end of another accolade.

Time released its annual list of the 100 most influential people Thursday, and Brady is one of six athletes to make the cut. He joins LeBron James, Colin Kaepernick, Olympic gymnast Simone Biles, FC Barcelona soccer star Neymar, and UFC fighter Conor McGregor. Cubs president and former Red Sox general manager Theo Epstein is on the list as well.

Kaepernick is perhaps the most controversial selection, considering he was chosen solely for his social activism. Jim Harbaugh wrote Kaepernick’s forward, praising the quarterback for his national anthem protest.

Brady’s introduction, meanwhile, is penned by comedian Conan O’Brien –– and it’s terrible. O’Brien, a Harvard graduate who once wrote for “Saturday Night Live,” writes a lame quip about how a sports fan in a Dorchester bar is stumped when he’s asked which NFL quarterback “has the most Super Bowl wins, touchdowns, appearances and passing yards, plus the most overall victories in NFL history, plus a Brazilian supermodel wife?”

Instead of giving an answer, he calls the person who asked the question a “Chowderhead.” How Boston!

While the article isn’t worth reading, it’s a nice honor for Brady nonetheless. In the “Titans” section, he’s listed alongside dignitaries such as Washington Post owner and Amazon founder Jeff Bezos as well as Rebekah Mercer, the daughter of Donald Trump’s biggest financial backer, mysterious hedge-fund tycoon Robert Mercer.

Blog Author: 
Alex Reimer