Pouncey: Grand jury no distraction

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DAVIE, Fla. -- Miami Dolphins center Mike Pouncey returned to practice Friday following a trip to Massachusetts to talk to investigators about the Aaron Hernandez case.

Hernandez, who remains jailed on a first-degree murder charge and several other charges in connection with the June 17 killing of Odin Lloyd, is a friend and former college teammate of Pouncey's at Florida.

Pouncey declined to talk specifics about his grand jury appearance but said the situation will not affect his play Sunday when the Dolphins (7-6) host the New England Patriots (10-3) in a game with playoff implications.

"It wasn't a distraction at all," Pouncey said. "We're all professional football players. It's something that I had to go handle. I'm here with my football team, so I'm happy."

Pouncey was subpoenaed by Massachusetts authorities following Miami's Oct. 27 loss to the Patriots in Foxborough. Pouncey clarified Friday that he made the trip to Massachusetts on Wednesday and was back with the team Thursday.

It's been a rough year for Pouncey. He wore a "Free Hernandez" hat during the summer that sparked negative headlines. He also had a lengthy talk with NFL special investigator Ted Wells about the Jonathan Martin- Richie Incognito bullying scandal. In addition, he recently had a stomach illness that caused him to miss two games and lose 15 pounds.

"It hasn't affected my play on the field at all, so I guess that's kept me sane," Pouncey said. "The guys in the locker room have been phenomenal just getting me through this year."

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