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Patriots’ Tight End Aaron Hernandez Signs Extension

National Football League(NEW ENGLAND) -- The New England Patriots have locked up another tight end.  Aaron Hernandez reached an agreement with the Patriots on a deal that will keep him through the 2018 season, sources said on Monday.

The deal is worth a maximum of $40 million and includes a $12.5 million signing bonus, according to The Boston Globe

The Patriots also reached an agreement with tight end Rob Gronkowski earlier in June to a six-year, $53 million extension.

Head coach Bill Belichick defended his right to secure players with large sums.

"Any contract that we agree to is one that we're in support of. If we agree to a contract on a player, then we're in support of that player, the length of the contract, the amount that we're paying him, and all the other things that go with the contract. We wouldn't do it if we weren't in support of it, as an organization, me personally, all of the above," Belichick said. "Again, we wouldn't have done it if we weren't happy with it. Glad it worked out."

Hernandez caught 79 passes for 910 yards last season. He's entering his third season in New England.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

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