NFL news roundup: Aaron Hernandez pleads not guilty; Julius Thomas breaks out

Chris Humphreys-USA TODAY Sports

Even though the regular season is here, off-the-field news is still rampant in the NFL.

Football finally returned on Thursday night, but the top news on Friday was Aaron Hernandez pleading not guilty to all charges at his arraignment on Friday.

Hernandez was charged with first-degree murder and firearm charges in connection with the alleged killing of Odin Lloyd this past June.

ESPN legal analyst Roger Cossack says a trial is likely a year away.

Meanwhile, here are some other NFL news items you may have missed on Friday.

Julius Thomas is the first breakout star of the 2013 NFL season

Peyton Manning threw for seven touchdowns in the Broncos' season-opening victory over the Ravens on Thursday night, which overshadowed the emergence of tight end Julius Thomas. A fourth-round pick in 2011, Thomas spent his first few seasons in the league battling injuries. But with a star-studded group of wide receivers on his side, Thomas had no trouble finding room in Baltimore's secondary on Thursday. This could be a sign of things to come.

Alfonzo Dennard hearing postponed

Alfonzo Dennard was arrested for a DUI over the summer, and his hearing has been postponed until Sept. 16, according to WEEI in Boston. The date falls on a Monday, which the Patriots usually have off, so Denard will be free to fly to Lincoln, Neb., for the hearing.

Patriots work out Dwyer, Coleman among others on Friday

The New England Patriots worked out running back Jonathan Dwyer and quarterbacks Graham Harrell and B.J. Coleman on Friday, according to Field Yates of ESPN Boston. The Patriots also worked out eight other players, per Yates, prior to their Week 1 game against the Buffalo Bills.

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