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Aaron Hernandez returns for New England Patriots

The New England Patriots finally received a bit of good news on a tight end. Expected to miss organized team activities and minicamps following shoulder surgery, Aaron Hernandez was back on the practice field Tuesday.

Hernandez has yet to be cleared for contact, but he did jump into a receiver drill, ran his route tree and caught passes from all three quarterbacks. He even stayed after practice to get in some extra work with Tom Brady.

Given the tangible signs of progress, Hernandez remains on pace for full participation once training camp opens in late July. With Rob Gronkowski's status up in the air, Hernandez likely will enter the season as Brady's top weapon in the passing game. No NFL tight end is more dangerous after the catch.

Follow Chris Wesseling on Twitter @ChrisWesseling.

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