The Patriots offseason program got underway on Monday but there was at least one prominent member of the team unable to participate. According to NFL Network, Aaron Hernandez
underwent shoulder surgery earlier this offseason and will likely miss OTAs as well as mini-camp, but the report indicated the tight end will be ready to return in time for training camp.
It’s unclear when Hernandez suffered the injury, but he now joins fellow tight end Rob Gronkowski
among those sidelined. Gronkowski is dealing with an infection that developed following a second surgery to repair his broken left arm and is expected to undergo another procedure once the infection is cleared.
With the young tight ends out, as well as news that the Patriots will not be acquiring wide receiver Emmanuel Sanders
, who had his restricted free agent offer sheet matched by the Steelers late Sunday, the Patriots passing game weapons are a bit scarce this spring.Jake Ballard
, who missed all of 2012 following microfracture surgery on his knee, will be brought along slowly but is expected to be ready for training camp. Newcomers Danny Amendola, Donald Jones
and Michael Jenkins
will join fellow wideouts Julian Edelman, Matthew Slater, Jeremy Ebert, Andre Holmes
and Kamar Aiken
while tight ends Daniel Fells, Brad Herman
and Michael Hoomanawanui
, who recently signed his restricted free agent tender, round out the group of pass catchers.
The Patriots first round of OTAs is scheduled for May 20.