Aaron Hernandez biography
Aaron Hernandez was born on November 6, 1989, in Bristol, Connecticut. After earning All-American honors at the University of Florida, Hernandez quickly established himself as a quality NFL tight end for the New England Patriots. However, his promising career was derailed when he was arrested and charged with the first-degree murder of semi-pro football player Odin Lloyd in June 2013.
Early Years and College
Aaron Michael Hernandez was born on November 6, 1989, in Bristol, Connecticut. He played basketball for Bristol Central High School and an AAU team coached by University of Connecticut's women's coach Geno Auriemma, but he was clearly marked for gridiron success. He earned first-team All-State honors after leading his team to the 2006 Central Connecticut Conference Southern Division Championship, though his senior year was marred by the untimely death of his father after complications from routine hernia surgery.
Hernandez became a star tight end at the University of Florida. At 6'2" and 245 pounds, he was a sturdy blocker, but also possessed the soft hands and breakaway speed of a wide receiver. He was an honorable mention All-American for the 2008 team that won the National Championship and named a Consensus All-American the following year, and his 111 catches across three collegiate seasons marked a school record for tight ends.
Despite his obvious talents, NFL teams were wary of drafting Hernandez due to his admitted flunking of a drug test. Privately, many teams also worried about his association with gang types from his home neighborhood. He fell to the fourth round in the 2010 NFL draft before the New England Patriots selected him with the 113th overall pick.
The youngest player in the NFL when the 2010 season began, Hernandez immediately proved he could thrive at the game's top level. He set a team rookie record for tight ends with 45 catches, helping the Patriots notch an impressive 14-2 record en route to an AFC Championship berth.
The following year, Hernandez teamed up with fellow tight end and 2010 draft pick Rob Gronkowski to spearhead an unstoppable New England offense. The duo combined for 24 touchdowns and 2,237 regular-season receiving yards before a loss in Super Bowl XLVI to the New York Giants.
Hernandez was rewarded with a five-year contract extension in August 2012. Although he was slowed during the subsequent season by an ankle injury, the departure of New England receiver Wes Welker and Gronkowski's health problems left him poised to assume a bigger role with the team in 2013.
Odin Lloyd Murder
On June 17, 2013, the body of semi-pro football player Odin Lloyd was found in an industrial park a mile from Hernandez's mansion in North Attleborough, Massachusetts. Police quickly traced evidence back to Hernandez, who was engaged to Lloyd's sister, though the NFL star complicated matters by destroying his cell phone and surveillance footage from his home.
On June 26, Hernandez was led from his home in handcuffs and charged with first-degree murder and five firearms violations.
The Patriots announced his release less than two hours after his arrest, and Hernandez was soon dropped by corporate sponsors.
The arraignment provided details for the motive and evidence: Apparently upset that Lloyd had talked with his enemies during a prior evening out at a Boston nightclub, Hernandez and two friends drove Lloyd around in a rented Nissan Altima before shooting him multiple times at around 3:30 a.m. on June 17. Surveillance at the industrial park revealed the presence of the Altima at the time of the shooting, while more footage from Hernandez's home showed him arriving with a gun shortly afterward. In addition, the same .45-caliber casings that were discovered at the murder scene were also found in the rented car and at a condo owned by Hernandez.
In the meantime, other allegations against Hernandez surfaced. He was accused by a Florida man of discharging a weapon that caused him to lose an eye, and he was being investigated in a drive-by shooting from the previous summer. Once poised for a prominent NFL career, the talented but troubled athlete instead found himself facing the prospect of life behind bars.