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For nine days, the Patriots waited for the investigation involving Aaron Hernandez to unfold before making any comment.
But a team source said that the top members of the organization — and that of course includes Robert Kraft and Bill Belichick, both out of the country — quietly decided last week they would part ways with Hernandez if and when an arrest happened, even if it was for obstruction of justice and not something more serious.
Wednesday morning, the arrest happened. Ninety minutes later, Hernandez was released — hours before the Patriots knew officially that he would be charged with murder.
In terms of dollars and cents, the Patriots’ quick action may hurt the team. But as one member of the organization emphasized, this was one of the few NFL transactions that isn’t about the bottom line.