- Associated Press - Wednesday, September 14, 2011

FOXBOROUGH, MASS. (AP) - Before reaching the NFL, Aaron Hernandez watched Antonio Gates to pick up tips on playing tight end in the pros.

On Sunday, Hernandez will get a much closer look when New England opens its home season against the seven-time Pro Bowler and the San Diego Chargers. And the Patriots have two productive players _ both in only their second season _ at that position.

Hernandez caught seven passes for 103 yards, Rob Gronkowski grabbed six for 86 and each scored a touchdown in a 38-24 win over the Miami Dolphins in which the Patriots gained a franchise-high 622 yards on Monday night.

Gronkowski, at 6-feet-6 and 265 pounds, is the better blocker. Hernandez, 6-1 and 245 pounds, sometimes looks like a wide receiver speeding downfield.


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