BOSTON (CBS) – At the ripe old age of 23, Patriots tight end Aaron Hernandez is a new man.

But his age has nothing to do with it. By comparison, Hernandez is still a baby from an NFL viewpoint. What has caused Hernandez to mature in just the last few days is what he received on his birthday, what he called the best gift anyone could ask for.

On Tuesday, before Hernandez could blow out all his birthday candles, his baby girl was born. Avielle Janelle Hernandez was all No. 81 could ask for.

“Having a daughter on your birthday, especially a ‘daddy’s little girl,’ I couldn’t ask for my life to be better at this point,” a very happy Hernandez said from the Patriots locker room on Thursday. “It’s a blessing, and I still feel blessed daily.”

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While he will remain focused on the field, Hernandez said there is plenty changing with the birth of his first child. For one, he now can’t wait to get home from practice.

“Every time I come to the stadium I can’t wait to go see her. I can’t wait to go back and basically look at myself,” he said with a big smile.

“It definitely changed my life. I’m going to look at things differently,” he said. “I may be the young and wild, but I’m not. I’m engaged now, have a baby. It’s going to make me think of life a lot differently and do things the right way. Now another one is looking up to me; I can’t just be young and reckless Aaron anymore.”

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As for his play on the field, Hernandez — who has been nursing an ankle injury — said he will be a game-time decision for Sunday’s tilt against the Buffalo Bills at Gillette Stadium.

Normally when Hernandez finds the end zone, he “makes it rain” as his celebration. It’ll be interesting to see if he has a special touchdown celebration for Avielle in store for Sunday.

Tune in to the Patriots-Bills game Sunday afternoon at 1pm on WBZ-TV and 98.5 The Sports Hub. Pre-game coverage begins at 10am on 98.5 with Patriots Preview, and 11:30am on WBZ-TV with Patriots GameDay. Following the game, stay tuned for three hours of postgame coverage on the Hub, and to Patriots 5th Quarter on WBZ-TV.


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