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New England Patriots Links 2/22/11 - Aaron Hernandez Expects To Participate In Training Camp After Hip Surgery

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Mike Reiss shines the spotlight on Aaron Hernandez' rookie season, and speculates why his year was "front-loaded", both in terms of production and playing time.

First 8 games  - Games played: 8; Receptions: 34; Average snaps/game: 47.0

Last 8 games  - Games played: 6; Receptions: 11; Average snaps/game: 18.3

Hernandez' dip in the second half of the year (starting in Pittsburgh) could have been tied to several factors, from his hip injury, to Rob Gronkowski's steady improvement, to his own performance. This also showed up in the playoff loss to the Jets when he was on the field for 24 snaps, well behind tight ends Rob Gronkowski and Alge Crumpler.

So when assessing Hernandez's overall body of work and areas of improvement for 2011, this figures to be high on the list: Finishing stronger.

Bill Wagner (Annapolis Gazette) Belichick bolsters Touchdown Club tribute.

The Steve Belichick Award was created to recognize coaches whose contributions are much greater than mere strategies or schemes and whose impact stretches past the athletic arena. The elder Belichick shunned the spotlight while serving as a Naval Academy assistant from 1956 through 1989. He handled opponent scouting and coached special teams while working for six different head coaches.

Steve Belichick, who was also a tenured professor at the Naval Academy, became a beloved figure to countless Navy football players. Bill Belichick, who grew up analyzing film with his father, said his father loved when former Navy greats such as Joe Bellino, Roger Staubach and Phil McConkey returned to Annapolis to visit.

"My father loved to coach, loved the game and loved interacting with the players," Belichick said. "Nothing means more to coach than when a player comes back and tells you how much you meant to him. It's important that every coach at every level understands what a big impact they can make on young people."