When he played in the NFL, tight end Aaron Hernandez was known as one of the most versatile deep threats in the league. The New England Patriot was a great receiving weapon. Unfortunately, a sad truth later emerged that Hernandez was also a killer who murdered in cold blood. Tragically, he took his life in his jail cell after being convicted.
Interest in Hernandez’s life has peaked recently due to the release of a Netflix documentary about his personal life, football career, and trial. Let’s take a look back on his career as well as where he played college football to find more information about this troubled former NFL player.
Aaron Hernandez’s NFL career
Hernandez was a complicated man. While he housed many demons off the field, on the field there can be no doubt that he was a truly gifted talent. When he played, he was one of Tom Brady’s top receivers. The Patriots selected Hernandez with the 113th overall pick in the fourth round of the 2010 NFL Draft. Here’s what he was able to accomplish during his short NFL career:
- 38 games
- 175 receptions
- 1,956 receiving yards
- 11.2 yards per reception
- 18 touchdowns
Hernandez played three seasons with the Patriots. Paired with Rob Gronkowski, he made up one half of the most explosive tight end duo in the NFL. Though he played for the league’s most successful franchise, Hernandez’s time in New England came during the Patriots’ 10-year drought of Super Bowl victories. In his career, he had 35 playoff receptions for 350 yards with two touchdowns. He played in one Super Bowl for the team, their 2012 championship loss to the New York Giants.
The grisly, tragic tale of Aaron Hernandez
As effective as he was on the field, Hernandez soon became better known for his heinous activity off the field. On June 17, 2013, semi-professional football player Odin Lloyd was murdered in a North Attleboro, Massachusetts industrial park. The park was near Hernandez’s home and evidence placed Lloyd and Hernandez together on the night of the murder. Police arrested and charged Hernandez for the killing. Nearly two years later, a jury convicted Hernandez of the first-degree murder of Lloyd. The conviction included a mandatory lifetime sentence with zero possibility of parole.
Hernandez was charged with another double murder but was not convicted of it. On April 19, 2017, authorities found Hernandez dead in his jail cell having hanged himself. They ruled the death a suicide.
Where did Aaron Hernandez play college football?
On September 30, 2007, four University of Florida football players were questioned for the shooting of two men in Gainesville, Florida. One of those players was Hernandez, a freshman at the time. Hernandez was not charged with the crime. However, police did retain him as a “person of interest” until 2017 when the case was closed for a lack of evidence.
Hernandez’s earliest legal issues served as a chilling foreshadowing of his later career. It’s a story with no happy endings. Boston University conducted a post-mortem study on Hernandez’s brain and found one of the worst cases of CTE they’d ever seen. While this is no excuse for what he did, it certainly fueled the flame of Hernandez’s fiery, sociopathic tendencies.
No one could have guessed that Hernandez was capable of doing what he did. But his run-in with the police during his time as a Gator served as a stark warning of what he would become.
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