Did we sign Koppen yet? Lard

Good Morning, Broncos fans! To the surprise of nobody, the news and speculation surrounding Pats tight end Aaron Hernandez continues to get worse.

The man found dead near a vehicle rented by Hernandez, and within a mile from the player's house, has been identified as 27-year-old Odin Lloyd, a semi-pro football player. Lloyd, whose death has been ruled a homicide, reportedly had been dating the sister of Hernandez's girlfriend.

It is being reported that Lloyd was with Hernandez and two other men at a bar on the night of his death and left together in a vehicle driven by Hernandez, but that only three of them arrived at Hernandez's home, with Lloyd the exception.

Additionally, that vehicle has reportedly been placed at the crime scene, whether that means where Lloyd's body was discovered, or where he was determined to have been killed.

Hernandez has not been characterized as a suspect, or even a person of interest in the case, but obviously, none of these developments are of a positive nature.

Meanwhile, a lawsuit was reportedly set to be refiled yesterday in Florida, alleging that Hernandez shot an acquaintance in the face, causing the alleged victim to lose his right eye. It was reported yesterday that the suit had been dimissed, but it instead was withdrawn on Monday to address a paperwork error.

As for Hernandez's fellow TE, Rob Gronkowski will be placed on the preseason PUP list and may also end up on the regular season one, which would make him ineligible for the Pats' first six games.

Joe Fortenbaugh speculates that this rough offseason is the beginning of the end for the Pats' dynasty, but the team's downfall has been predicted for many years now. Instead, they've won 39 regular-season games (plus three playoff games) over the past three seasons, and 10+ games for 11 of the past 12 seasons, with the 2002 team the lone exception at 9-7.

Although they each signed hefty extensions last year, the financial implications of eventually cutting Hernandez and/or Gronkowski will not be severe for the Patriots. As per usual, their contracts are, in reality, not nearly as lucrative as their total values would suggest.

Broncos

Jeff Legwold says Chris Kuper is an option at center, while even Gray Caldwell suggests the team's likeliest response to J.D. Walton's latest operation is to re-sign Dan Koppen.

Wes Welker was back in Boston yesterday to promote his, uh, hair transplants, and he spoke again about his departure from New England.

Terrance Knighton isn't fond of his old Pot Roast nickname, and is soliciting suggestions for a new one. Doesn't he know that it doesn't quite work this way?

In support of the Pat Summit Foundation, Peyton Manning filmed a commercial for Alzheimer's awareness.

Andrew Mason looks ahead to the Week 2 matchup between Peyton and Eli, plus some mostly poor NYC restaurant recommendations from the official site's writers (Katz's being the exception).

News

During a momentary break from talk of an 18-game regular season, the Ginger Hammer spoke with USA Today about player safety, since that's of course his number-one priority.

The resignation of hacktastic Chargers team doctor David Chao was apparently prompted by his having been barred from performing surgeries at two SD hospitals.

San Francisco extended DT Justin Smith for two years, through 2015; Tampa Bay added ex-Cards corner Michael AdamsTennessee signed former Rams and Chiefs T Barry Richardson.

The Bills are whining about their 2013 schedule on their official site. They do appear to have a beef, but it's not going to be the difference between them making or missing the playoffs...

Cards coach Bruce Arians thinks fans are more homophobic than are NFL players, which would make sense, since they're clearly more racist, too.

Analysis

Five years' worth of PFF grades have Wes Welker ranked seventh among wide receivers, albeit with a seeming large number of dropped passes along the way.

In breaking down the Chiefs' draft class, Rob Rang likes the selection of TE Travis Kelce, but isn't so sure about Eric Fisher and Knile Davis.

Gil Brandt thinks it would take a convergence of many factors for the Raiders to improve significantly in 2013, but he of course thinks Reggie McKenzie has them going in the right direction.

Sam Monson revisits a touchdown scored by Falcons WR Roddy White against Seahawks corner Richard Sherman and uses the occasion to discuss the different skills required for man and zone coverages.

Clark Judge includes Manning/Brady among the league's top current rivalries.

Stats

Chase Stuart digs into whether Larry Fitzgerald's uncharacteristic 2012 season can really be blamed on his having played with craptastic quarterbacks.

As Ted often mentions, each NFL season is its own, so Bill Barnwell's conclusion that there's no statistical evidence that hot streaks continue from year to year should be no surprise nobody.

Miscellany

Former NHL head coach Ted Nolan, himself a Native American, says he'd be "very offended" were someone to refer to him by the blatantly racist name of Washington's football team. As for the notion that the name is a nod to tradition and heritage, we're guessing Dan Snyder and the Ginger Hammer aren't referring to this tradition and heritage. (h/t Jason)

Over at PFT, some minicamp memeification, plus Mt. Flushmore for the NFCW teams.

Mike Florio took time away from his riveting Mt. Rushmore series to engage in a Twitter slapfight with the Jaguars' mascot.

RIP, James Gandolfini.

Doug is IAOFM’s resident newsman and spelling czar. Follow him on Twitter @IAOFM

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