Aaron Hernandez Story May Expose Latest Crack in ‘Patriots Way’

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Twice last year, Aaron Hernandez, a young Patriots star with a troubled past, announced he had changed his ways.

After he signed a 5-year, $40 million contract extension, Hernandez said he had conquered his irresponsible impulses and proven that Patriots owner Robert Kraft “trusts my character.’’

“You get changed by the Patriots way,’’ Hernandez said.

Less than three months later, the birth of Hernandez’s first child inspired him to reaffirm his commitment to a life of honor. “I just can’t be the ‘young and reckless Aaron’ no more,’’ he said.

But now Hernandez’s declarations and the authenticity of the so-called Patriots Way have fallen under scrutiny as State Police homicide investigators examine Hernandez’s possible link to the circumstances surrounding the gun slaying of his acquaintance, Odin Lloyd.

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