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Aaron Hernandez

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Title: Aaron Hernandez  
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Aaron Hernandez

Aaron Hernandez
Hernandez in 2011.
Free agent
Tight End
Personal information
Date of birth: (1989-11-06) November 6, 1989 (age 24)
Place of birth: Bristol, Connecticut
Height: 6 ft 1 in (1.85 m)Weight: 245 lb (111 kg)
Career information
High school: Bristol (CT) Central
College: Florida
NFL Draft: 2010 / Round: 4 / Pick: 113
Debuted in 2010 for the New England Patriots
Career history
Career highlights and awards
Career NFL statistics

Aaron Michael Hernandez (born November 6, 1989) is an American football tight end who is currently a free agent.

On August 22, 2013, Hernandez was indicted by a grand jury for the murder of Odin Lloyd, and is currently being investigated in connection with other murders in both Florida and Massachusetts. Hernandez maintains his innocence.[1] The Patriots released Aaron Hernandez on June 26, 2013, shortly after officers from the North Attleboro, Massachusetts Police Department and the Massachusetts State Police arrested him at his home.

Hernandez played college football for the University of Florida, where he was a member of a BCS National Championship team and earned All-American honors. He was drafted by the Patriots in the fourth round of the 2010 NFL Draft, and was selected for the Pro Bowl following his second NFL season.

Early years

Hernandez was born in Bristol, Connecticut,[2] to Dennis Hernandez, who was of Puerto Rican descent, and Terri Valentine-Hernandez, who is of Italian descent. His father died from complications from hernia surgery in January 2006, when Hernandez was 16. Hernandez's father-who was known as "The King" in the city of Bristol- along with his uncle (and father's twin brother), David, were local sports stars in their youth but also reportedly got into street fights and were involved in various crimes including assault and petty larceny. The pair would eventually straighten their lives when they became fathers. By all accounts Dennis was a doting father who instilled a hard work discipline in his two sons; honing their athletic abilities, and emphasizing the importance of education.[3]

According to his mother, his father's death greatly affected the younger Hernandez, leading him to rebel against authority figures.[4][5][6] He attended Bristol Central High School and played for the Rams as a wide receiver.[7] As a senior, he was the Connecticut Gatorade Football Player of the Year after making 67 receptions for 1,807 yards and 69 touchdowns on offense and 72 tackles, 12 sacks, three forced fumbles, two fumble recoveries, and four blocked kicks on defense.[7] The 1,807 receiving yards and 24 touchdowns were a state record and his 31 touchdowns tied the state record. He also set the state record for receiving yards in a single game with 376, which was the seventh best total in national high school history, and set a national high school record for yards receiving per game with 180.7. Hernandez was considered the top tight end recruit in 2007 by[8]

College career

At first he committed to play for the University of Connecticut,[9] but Hernandez ultimately enrolled at the University of Florida, where he played for coach Urban Meyer's Florida Gators football team from 2007 to 2009.[10]

As a true freshman in 2007, Hernandez appeared in 13 games for the Gators, starting three. He finished the season with nine receptions for 151 yards and two touchdowns. As a sophomore in 2008, he started 11 of 13 games in place of the injured Cornelius Ingram, and finished the season with 34 receptions for 381 yards and five touchdowns. In the 2009 BCS National Championship Game against the Oklahoma Sooners, Hernandez led the Gators in receiving yards with 57 on five receptions, as the Gators defeated the Sooners 24–14 to win their second national championship in three seasons.[11]

As a junior in 2009, Hernandez won the John Mackey Award, given annually to the nation's best tight end, after leading the Gators in receptions with 68 for 850 yards and five touchdowns. He was also a first-team All-Southeastern Conference selection and was recognized as a first-team All-American by the Associated Press, College Football News and the The Sporting News.[10] Hernandez finished his college career with 111 receptions for 1,382 yards and 12 touchdowns.

After his junior year, he decided to forgo his senior season and enter the 2010 NFL Draft.[12]

Professional career


New England Patriots

Hernandez was drafted by the New England Patriots in the fourth round (113th overall) of the 2010 NFL Draft. The previous day, the Patriots drafted another tight end, Rob Gronkowski. Shortly after he was drafted, The Boston Globe reported Hernandez had admitted to marijuana use and had failed multiple drug tests while in college, causing his draft stock to drop.[13] Later that day, the Patriots released a statement from Hernandez, who said he had failed only one drug test while in college and was candid about it to interested teams at the NFL Scouting Combine.[14]

Hernandez signed a four-year contract on June 8, 2010.[15] The contract included a signing bonus of $200,000—less than half the bonus received by Patriots fourth-round pick placekicker Stephen Gostkowski in 2006.[16] To compensate for the small signing bonus, the deal also includes a series of roster and workout bonuses that add up to an additional $700,000, which means that "Hernandez can wind up getting the money a third-rounder would over four years, but he's gotta walk the straight and narrow line to do so."[17]

2010 season

Hernandez started the 2010 season as the youngest player on any active roster in the NFL. In Week 2, against the New York Jets, he caught six passes for 101 yards, making him the youngest player since 1960 to have 100 yards receiving in a single game. In the Patriots' Week 3 victory over the Buffalo Bills, Hernandez led all Patriots receivers with six catches for 65 yards, and had one rush for 13 yards. In the Patriots' Week 9 loss against the Cleveland Browns, Hernandez caught his first career touchdown on a one-yard pass from quarterback Tom Brady, and added another touchdown later in the game. In Week 15, Hernandez caught two touchdown passes from Brady in a win over the Green Bay Packers, earning Hernandez Pepsi NFL Rookie of the Week honors. He finished the 2010 season with 45 receptions for 563 yards and six touchdowns in 14 games played (7 starts).

2011 season

For his first season in the NFL, Hernandez wore the #85 jersey. In July 2011 during training camp, wide receiver Chad Johnson came to the team from a trade with the Cincinnati Bengals. Hernandez immediately let Johnson, who then legally had his last name as "Ochocinco" based on his uniform number, have the #85, choosing to go back to his college number of #81, which had been taken by Randy Moss from 2007 until his mid-season trade to the Vikings in 2010.[18]

Through Week 15, Hernandez played in 12 of the Patriots' 14 games, starting 10; for the second season in a row, Hernandez missed two regular-season games with a knee injury. He set career bests in receptions and yards in Week 15, against the Denver Broncos, with nine catches for 129 yards and one touchdown.

Hernandez and teammate Rob Gronkowski are the first pair of tight ends in NFL history to score at least five touchdowns each in consecutive seasons for the same team; both rank in the top 20 among all receivers in number of catches. In December 2011, Hernandez was named a Pro Bowl alternate during the season.[19] In the NFL playoffs, Hernandez had the longest run of the postseason, a 42-yard run against the Denver Broncos on the Patriots' first offensive drive of the game. Hernandez led the Patriots to Super Bowl XLVI but the Patriots lost the game to the Giants 17-21.

2012 season

Hernandez was sidelined during the Patriot's Week 2 game against the Arizona Cardinals with a high ankle sprain and missed several weeks.[20] On December 10, during the Monday Night Football game against the Houston Texans, Hernandez recorded 8 receptions for 58 yards and two touchdowns.[21]

On August 27, 2012, the Patriots signed Hernandez to a five-year extension, running through 2018, that included a $12.5 million signing bonus, the largest signing bonus ever given to an NFL tight end,[22] and the second-largest extension ever, after teammate Rob Gronkowski's $53 million extension.

Gronkowski-Hernandez tandem

At the start of the 2011 season, Hernandez was one of only two tight ends on the roster; the other was his fellow 2010 draftee Rob Gronkowski.

Although Hernandez's stats were eclipsed by Gronkowski's, Hernandez still ranked in the top 5 in receptions, yards, and touchdowns among tight ends; according to NBC Sports, Hernandez and Gronkowski are the first pair of tight ends in NFL history to catch 5 touchdown passes in consecutive seasons with the same team. In 2011 they also set NFL records for yardage, receptions, and touchdowns by tight ends on one team, combining for 169 receptions, 2,237 yards, and 24 touchdowns. The previous records for receptions and yards by tight ends on a single team was set in 1984 by the San Diego Chargers, who had four tight ends combine for 163 receptions and 1,927 yards;[23] the 24 touchdowns eclipsed the record of 18 touchdowns caught by Gronkowski, Hernandez, and Alge Crumpler in 2010.

Personal life

Aaron Hernandez has been dating Shayanna Jenkins since 2007. They have a daughter, Avielle Janelle, who was born in November 2012.[24] That same month, Hernandez purchased a 7,100 square feet (660 m2) four-story home, with an in-ground pool, in North Attleboro, Massachusetts, for $1.3 million.[25] [26][27] On September 27, 2013, Jenkins was indicted on a perjury charge in connection with the killing of Odin Lloyd.[28]

Legal troubles

2007 Gainesville bar fight

On May 4, 2007, Hernandez consumed two drinks in The Swamp restaurant in Gainesville, Florida, and refused to pay his bill because he disagreed with restaurant employee, Michael Taphorn, over the amount of the bill. Hernandez and Taphorn argued for several minutes, and Taphorn began to walk away. Hernandez punched him in the side of the head, and doctors would later diagnose Taphorn with a ruptured eardrum. Hernandez received deferred prosecution.

2012 Boston double homicide

On June 27, 2013, law enforcement sources told the media that Hernandez was being investigated in connection with a double murder that took place on July 16, 2012, in Boston's South End[29] when Daniel Jorge Correia de Abreu, 29, and Safiro Teixeira Furtado, 28, both of Dorchester, were killed by gunshots fired into their vehicle.[30]

2013 Miami shooting lawsuit

On June 13, 2013, Alexander S. Bradley, described as a friend of Hernandez,[31][32] filed a lawsuit against Hernandez in a Florida federal court. Bradley claimed that on February 13, 2013, Hernandez had shot him while the two were riding in a car on Interstate 95 in Palm Beach County, following an altercation at a Miami strip club; Bradley alleged that he lost his right eye as a result. When police came to assist Bradley, he declined to name his assailant, and no arrest was made at the time. Bradley's lawsuit was dismissed on June 17, 2013, as a result of incorrect paperwork, and refiled on June 19, 2013.[33][34]

On September 3, 2013, Hernandez's lawyers filed a postponement request Tuesday in federal court until his murder charges are resolved. They say it would be legally unfair to Hernandez to permit the lawsuit to continue while he is defending himself in the shooting death of 27-year-old Odin Lloyd

2013 murder of Odin Lloyd

Main article: Murder of Odin Lloyd

On June 18, 2013, Hernandez's house in North Attleboro was searched by police for several hours in connection with an investigation into the shooting death of a friend, Odin Lloyd. Lloyd's body was found in an industrial park about a mile away from Hernandez's house with multiple gunshot wounds to the back and chest.[35][36] The Massachusetts State Police obtained a search warrant after evidence surfaced that Hernandez intentionally destroyed his home security system. A cell phone belonging to Hernandez was turned over to police "in pieces" and Hernandez allegedly hired a "team of house cleaners" the same day Lloyd's body was discovered, raising additional suspicion.[37]

On June 20, 2013, the Boston Herald reported that Hernandez had been "barred" from Gillette Stadium by the Patriots.[38] According to, Patriots owner Robert Kraft decided to have Patriots staff ask Hernandez to leave because he did not want Gillette to be "the site of a media stakeout."[39] However, the Boston Globe reported that the Patriots front office had decided days before Hernandez's arrest that if Hernandez were arrested on any charge related to the case, even an obstruction of justice charge, he would be released.[40]

On June 26, 2013, Hernandez was taken from his home in handcuffs and into police custody.[41] The Patriots released Hernandez about 90 minutes later, before officially knowing the charges against him.[40] Their press release stated:
A young man was murdered last week and we extend our sympathies to the family and friends who mourn his loss. Words cannot express the disappointment we feel knowing that one of our players was arrested as a result of this investigation. We realize that law enforcement investigations into this matter are ongoing. We support their efforts and respect the process. At this time, we believe this transaction is simply the right thing to do.[42]

Later that day, Hernandez was charged with first-degree murder, in addition to five gun-related charges;[43] if convicted of first-degree murder, Hernandez faces life in prison without the possibility of parole; Massachusetts abolished the death penalty in 1982.[44] He is currently being held without bail at the Bristol County Jail.[45]

Two other men were also arrested in connection with Lloyd's death: Carlos Ortiz, on June 27, 2013, and Ernest Wallace on June 28, 2013.[46][47] Ortiz revealed to the police that Hernandez had secretly rented an apartment in Franklin, Massachusetts. A subsequent search of the apartment, according to the Associated Press, "turned up ammunition and clothing that police believe could be evidence in the murder case against him".[48]

On August 22, 2013, Aaron Hernandez was indicted by a grand jury for the murder of Odin Lloyd.[49]

On September 6, 2013, Hernandez was arraigned and plead not guilty to first-degree murder. He will be held without bail, but reserved the right to request bail later.[50]


Hernandez's arrest and subsequent termination led to financial and other consequences for both Hernandez and the New England Patriots.

For Hernandez:

  • Hernandez's release meant he automatically forfeited his 2015–2018 salaries, totaling $19.3 million, which were not guaranteed. The Boston Globe reported that the Patriots voided all remaining guarantees, including his 2013 and 2014 salaries, on the grounds that those guarantees were for skill, injury, or salary cap room, and did not include being cut for "conduct detrimental to the best interests of professional football." Furthermore, the Patriots will attempt to withhold $3.25 million of Hernandez's 2012 signing bonus that was due to be paid in 2014, and to recoup the signing bonus they have already paid.[51]
  • Since Hernandez had not completed his fourth season in the league, he was subject to waivers, but went unclaimed. After Hernandez cleared waivers, NFL commissioner Roger Goodell announced that, while charges against Hernandez are pending, the NFL will not approve any contract signed by Hernandez until Goodell holds a hearing to determine if Hernandez should face suspension "or other action."[52]
  • CytoSport and Puma canceled their endorsement deals with Hernandez; Puma canceled its deal after Hernandez's arrest, while CytoSport canceled its deal a few days prior.[53][54][55]
  • EA Sports announced that Hernandez's likeness would be dropped from its NCAA Football 14 and Madden NFL 25 video games.[56]
  • Panini America, a sports memorabilia and trading card company, removed stickers of Hernandez from approximately 500,000 sticker books which had yet to be sent to collectors and replaced the stickers, as well as trading cards, with cards depicting Tim Tebow.[58]

For the Patriots:

  • The NFL salary cap allows teams to pro-rate signing bonuses over the life of a contract or a five-year period, whichever is shorter. By cutting Hernandez, however, all of Hernandez's remaining guaranteed money accelerates into the 2013 and 2014 salary caps: as of June 28, 2013, they will take a $2.55 million hit in 2013, and $7.5 million in 2014.[51]
  • According to Boston CBS affiliate WBZ, all Hernandez memorabilia and merchandise were removed from the team's official pro shop at Patriot Place, and their website, within hours of Hernandez's arrest.[60] Moreover, the Patriots ProShop gave those who bought officially-licensed Hernandez jerseys[61] from the pro shop, online, or stadium kiosks, the opportunity to exchange them for other in-stock jerseys,[62] and, in fact, encouraged parents to exchange children's jerseys.[1] On the two days of the exchange, which had to be done in-person, about 2,500 jerseys were exchanged.[63] According to Patriots owner Robert Kraft, the Patriots, who destroyed the jerseys before recycling them, lost about $250,000 via the swap.[59]

See also

American football portal
Biography portal
College football portal


External links

  • Career statistics and player information from Pro-Football-Reference
  • New England Patriots bio
  • NFL combine profile
  • Florida Gators bio

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