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Friday, July 26, 2013
Robert Kraft talks Aaron Hernandez

ESPNBoston.com

New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft reiterated Friday that he was "shocked" when he learned of Aaron Hernandez's connection to a murder investigation and said the team was trying to turn the page as training camp opened.

"We're just sad about what potentially has happened," Kraft said in a surprise appearance on ESPN Radio's "Mike & Mike" from Gillette Stadium. "We just think we've got to face problems head on, make the best decision with the information we have at the time and move on."

Kraft discussed the process by which the team decided to break ties with Hernandez. The Patriots cut the tight end less than two hours after he was arrested but before he was officially charged with murdering semipro football player Odin Lloyd.

"I was overseas when this all happened," Kraft said. "We did what we did by telephone conference. We were just shocked. I know our fans were shocked. … We just decided to act fast and do something that would be the right thing to do under very difficult circumstances."

Kraft had spoken about Hernandez only once previously, telling a small group of reporters he felt "duped" by the player. Friday's remarks came two days after coach Bill Belichick talked for the first time about the situation and a day after Tom Brady and other team captains addressed it for the first time publicly.

"Let it be said that the first day I was back from overseas I spoke," Kraft said Friday. "[Belichick] spoke; our captains spoke. There's nothing more we can say, and we're going to focus on trying to win some football games now."

The Patriots' image has taken a hit this offseason, both with the murder charge facing Hernandez and the arrest of cornerback Alfonzo Dennard on suspicion of drunken driving. Dennard had previously been sentenced to 30 days behind bars for assaulting a police officer, to be served in March.

"I know our brand is very important to the community," Kraft said. "It's important to my family, and we want our fans to believe in us and know that sometimes we have to do some difficult things and we'll stand by it."