Aaron Hernandez ready to adapt for Patriots

Patriots tight end Aaron Hernandez didn’t have surgery for the right ankle sprain that gave him trouble most of last season, but he said he’ll be ready to go this season.

“It definitely slowed me down and I wasn’t able to be the player that I thought I was going to be this past year,” he said. “But it happens, and it’s football, but you just have to keep moving forward and keep improving.

“My ankle feels pretty good and I think it will be even better for next season.”


Hernandez was made available to the media after signing a two-year contract to become one of the faces of the training category for Westford-based Puma North America.

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Hernandez has been living in California this offseason, but has not yet worked out with Tom Brady. Hernandez said he’ll be at the voluntary workouts, as the offense starts life without Welker.

“It could change my role, but we just picked up Danny Amendola and I’m sure he’ll fill in pretty well,” Hernandez said. “But Wes is a great player and he’s definitely going to help the Broncos out a lot. But that’s the how the league is. We just have to keep moving forward.”

Hernandez said he hasn’t thought much about any health troubles that fellow tight end Rob Gronkowski (broken forearm) may be going through.

“I know we all hope that he’s healthy, but I’m sure he’ll be fine,” Hernandez said. “As long as he’s ready for crunch time toward the end of the season, that’s all I’m sure us and the coaches are worried about.”