Patriots coach Bill Belichick issued the following statement Monday on Michael Sam: ‘€œWe evaluate all the players, including Michael Sam, based on the totality of who they are and who can best contribute to our team and organization, regardless of the matters being discussed today. They all have strengths, they all have weaknesses and no two human beings are identical.

Robert Kraft said Monday he would welcome an openly gay player on the Patriots roster, saying it was “about winning.”

So, what really changed Sunday night?

Prior to Sunday, Missouri defensive end Michael Sam was thought of as a relatively highly regarded prospect. The reigning SEC Defensive Player of the Year, the 6-foot-2, 255-pounder finished the 2013 season with 11.5 sacks and 19 tackles for loss, and he attained All-America status as a result.

Former Missouri defensive end and current NFL draft prospect Michael Sam said Sunday in interviews with ESPN and The New York Times that he is gay.

“I just want to make sure I could tell my story the way I want to tell it,” Sam said. “€œI just want to own my truth.”

Former Patriots tight end Aaron Hernandez is set to make an appearance in Fall River Superior Court on Friday afternoon to face murder charges.

Cornerback Kyle Arrington is scheduled to undergo groin surgery on Friday to address an injury that dogged him for the better part of the 2013 season, according to his agency. The timeframe for recovery is roughly six weeks, which should have Arrington ready for the start of OTA’s this spring.

Pepper Johnson said the reason he decided to leave the Patriots and take a new job with the Bills was because he was interested in “getting up from under the shadows of coach (Bill) Belichick.”

Sports Illustrated legal expert Michael McCann joined Dennis & Callahan on Tuesday to discuss the Aaron Hernandez trial. To hear the interview, go to the Dennis & Callahan audio on demand page.

Now that the season is done, the NFL has released the draft order for the 2014 draft, set for May 8-10 in New York.

Former Patriots safety Rodney Harrison joined Dennis & Callahan on Monday to discuss Peyton Manning and the Broncos‘ loss in Super Bowl XLVIII.