Though New England Patriots tight end Aaron Hernandez has yet to be charged with a crime, a North Attleboro, MA, homicide investigation that appears to be focused on the player and his home has brought the his past decisions into question.
When New England selected Hernandez with the No. 113 overall pick in the fourth round of the 2010 NFL Draft, it did so knowing he had plenty of red flags.
He had supposedly smoked marijuana and hung out with a bad crowd in high school. He got arrested as a 17-year-old freshman with the Florida Gators after he got into a fight with a bouncer at a bar. (Hernandez was charged as a juvenile and accepted deferred prosecution). He was also questioned in a 2008 shooting in Gainesville, FL, though he spoke with police as a potential eyewitness and not a suspect, a fact conveniently left out of many reports about the incident.
Most alarming for the Patriots and other NFL teams, however, was information they learned that was also contained in a report published by the Boston Globe shortly after Hernandez was drafted by New England.
The story, citing sources from three NFL teams that knew about Hernandez’s background and supposed problems at Florida, noted that he did not just fail a drug test in 2008 (which led to a one-game suspension, the only contest he missed during his three years with the Gators). Rather, a “longtime executive” claimed, Hernandez failed from 4-6 drug tests while at Florida and was not punished accordingly.
“He had multiple positive tests, so he either had issues or he’s dumb. One or two tests? Fine. But four, five, six? Come on, now you’ve got an addiction,” the NFL executive said.
Though the Gators did not address the Globe report at the time, Florida athletic director Jeremy Foley did just that on Tuesday.