The Patriots have had a willingness in recent years to roll the dice with some questionable characters, be it in the draft, free agency, or via trades.
In some cases, such as running back Corey Dillon, they were able to keep the player in check long enough for him to contribute to the team’s success. In other instances, such as defensive lineman Albert Haynesworth, it just didn’t work out.
Then there’s Aaron Hernandez, who proved the absolute worst-case scenario. The tight end faces a murder charge in the death of a 27-year-old Dorchester man.

The Patriots knew marijuana use was on Hernandez’ resume from at least one failed drug test. That was evident before the 2010 NFL draft. And if reports are to be believed, most teams also were aware of his ties to gangs.
Both factors sent Hernandez, a first-round talent out of Florida, tumbling down the board. When the Pats were on the clock in the fourth round with the 113th overall pick, they felt he was worth the risk.
Hernandez showed his talent on the field, and for a while, the Pats’ gamble paid off. Now, however, the situation has turned into a nightmare.
In the aftermath, one has to wonder if the Pats will change their philosophy when looking at red-flag candidates, particularly the ones with gang ties and gun violations. Former Pats safety Rodney Harrison, now an NBC commentator, believes the team delivered a loud statement by cutting Hernandez as soon as he was arrested. They didn’t wait for the tight end to have his day in court. They essentially told present and future players that, quite simply, they have no tolerance for unlawful behavior, even from their best players.