Hernandez is spending time in Los Angeles this offseason to try to get himself better prepared for the long haul of the NFL season, Jeff Howe of the Boston Herald reports. Hernandez has been spending time working out with quarterback Tom Brady, but the real changes have been in his focus and workout routine.
“Just been training, trying to get my body right, get my strength up so I can have a decent season next year,” Hernandez said. “I’d say more attention to specific muscles instead of just doing the basic bench, squat and all that other stuff. I’d say I started a little earlier this year to maybe try to get through 16 games this season.”
Hernandez signed a five-year extension worth up to $40 million before last season, but he was only on the field for 10 games last year. In three seasons with the Patriots, he has totaled 175 receptions, 18 touchdowns and 1,956 receiving yards. While he’s been a versatile option in the offense, taking fullback snaps and running wide receiver routes as well as blocking and catching as a tight end, injuries have limited him in some of New England’s biggest games.
Time away from the usual fare on the East Coast is going to help him really get ready for next season, Hernandez said.
“It’s away from everything else — away from my family, my friends, gives me time to focus on football, focus on my main priorities in life,” he said.
Hernandez is expected to take on a larger role in the Patriots’ offense this year with Wes Welker gone and fellow tight end Rob Gronkowski possibly limited by complications from his arm injury.