Thursday, October 13, 2011
Hernandez on chicken, brace, Tebow
By Chris Forsberg
Chris Forsberg/ESPN BostonTight end Aaron Hernandez munches on some grilled chicken before practice Thursday.
FOXBOROUGH, Mass. -- Patriots tight end Aaron Hernandez could have easily made a break for it -- lunch in hand -- when reporters asked him to stop for an interview during the media access period Thursday at Gillette Stadium. But it's clear how much Hernandez actually enjoys these brief powwows.
Hernandez tossed his plate in the trash and, with grilled chicken in hand, conducted another lighthearted Q&A that included questions about his choice of lunch products, costing quarterback Tom Brady an interception last week against the Jets, and why he thinks Tim Tebow will thrive as a starter in Denver.
Hernandez's grilled chicken was noteworthy considering that Boston's baseball team is in the headlines the past two days with reports that members of its pitching staff were munching on fried chicken in the clubhouse during the team's epic September collapse. Said Hernandez about his meal: "It’s good. General Tso chicken -- grilled -- so it’s pretty healthy... You guys want some?"
Asked if he could play on Sunday with chicken in hand, Hernandez joked, "No, I don't want to drop any more touchdowns catches."
Hernandez had a surefire touchdown clang off his hands on the final play of the first half Sunday against the Jets. It was the first red zone interception thrown by Brady during his career at Gillette Stadium. Asked if he had shared any jokes with Brady about the miscue, he deadpanned: "Now that you put it that way, no I haven’t. But thanks."
Turning more serious, Hernandez said his knee is feeling better each day. He isn't sure if he'll wear the cumbersome knee brace he sported last week against the Jets when the Cowboys visit Sunday, but suggested it's not much of a factor for him.
"It's not an excuse -- you’re not thinking about it when it’s on," said Hernandez. "It may make you a 10th of a second slower, but it’s not that big of a difference. I can’t use it as an excuse, or else I would have on that touchdown."
Hernandez also put in a good word for his former college quarterback, Tim Tebow, who is expected to start for the Broncos this week.
"Tim's a great player," said Hernandez. "I loved him in college, he’s a playmaker. Hopefully he can go out there this week and make some plays; Hopefully he can succeed, because I feel like he’s going to be a great quarterback.
"He's a winner. You want someone like that in your huddle and he’s going to know everything. People might not like his throwing technique, but he’s a winner and he’s going to find ways to make plays. He'll get that first down whether has to run or throw it, and makes things happen."