Hernandez dropped to the fourth round in the 2010 NFL draft because of character issues. Several teams took him off their draft board.
Belichick said “the fundamentals” of the Patriots’ player evaluation process will stay the same as they’ve been since he became coach in 2000, but the team will work hard to do it better.
“We look at every player’s history from the moment we start discussing it,” he said, “going back to his family, where he grew up, what his lifestyle was like, high school, college experiences. We evaluate his performance, his intelligence, his work ethic, his motivation, his maturity, his improvement and we try to project that into our organization on a going-forward basis.
“We’ll continue to evaluate the way that we do things, the way that we evaluate our players and we’ll do it on a regular basis, not just at the beginning when they come in.”
Asked if the Patriots will focus more on off-field issues when scouting college players, he said, “We have a process in place. Can it be improved? Can it be modified? It possibly can. We’ll certainly look at it.”
Belichick wouldn’t answer a question about starting cornerback Alfonzo Dennard, who was charged with first-offense drunken driving after being pulled over in his car on July 11 in Lincoln, Neb., while on probation. He remains on the team.
Players are evaluated on “a case-by-case basis,” Belichick said. “Whatever the circumstances are on any one individual, you’ll have to make the decision based on an individual basis.
“With Aaron, we did what we felt was right for the football team.”