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Aaron Hernandez was an American football tight end in the National Football League (NFL) and convicted murderer. A productive player during his three seasons with the New England Patriots, Hernandez’s career came to an abrupt end after his arrest in 2013 and conviction for the murder of Odin Lloyd.
Recognized as an All-American at the University of Florida, Hernandez was drafted by the Patriots in the fourth round of the 2010 NFL Draft. Alongside teammate Rob Gronkowski, he formed one of the league’s most dominant tight-end duos, becoming the first pair of tight ends to score at least five touchdowns each in consecutive seasons for the same team. He made one Super Bowl appearance in XLVI.
Aaron Josef Hernandez was born in Bristol, Connecticut, and raised on Greystone Avenue. He was the son of Dennis Hernandez, of Puerto Rican descent, and Terri Valentine-Hernandez, of Italian descent. As an adult, Hernandez remembered his mother throwing his father out of the house on multiple occasions, but always letting him back in. The couple married in 1986, divorced in 1991, and remarried in 1996. Since 1991, they filed for bankruptcy. Hernandez would later state there was constant fighting going on in the home. Both parents would be arrested and involved in crime during their lives.
Hernandez had an older brother, Dennis Jonathan Jr., known as D.J. Their father pushed them to excel, including through sports, but was often abusive towards both the boys and their mother. Publicly, their father projected an image of someone who had some run-ins with the police but turned his life around to become a good father and citizen.
On January 6, 2010, Hernandez announced his decision to forgo his remaining eligibility and enter the 2010 NFL Draft. Furthermore, he attended the NFL Scouting Combine, but was unable to perform any physical drills after tearing a muscle in his back during the offseason. On March 17, 2010, Hernandez participated at Florida’s pro day and performed all of the combine drills. His time in the 40-yard dash would have ranked fourth among all tight ends at the NFL Combine. Hernandez also performed 30 reps of 225 lbs on the bench press and would have been the top performance of all tight ends, surpassing Dennis Pitta’s top performance of 27 reps.
Hernandez began dating Shayanna Jenkins in 2007. They had been friends since they were in elementary school and were high school sweethearts. Their daughter was born in 2012 and they became engaged in the same month. Also that month, Hernandez purchased a $1.3 million, 8,130 square foot (755 m2), four-story home with an in-ground pool in North Attleborough, Massachusetts, where the family lived together. Jenkins moved in with Hernandez in 2011, during his second season with the Patriots.
After she discovered him cheating on her, Jenkins moved out but returned in the summer of 2012. Similarly, Jenkins testified in court that she wanted to make their relationship work, and that it required her to compromise on some of his behavior. Moreover, she told police that she cooked and cleaned and she knew her role.
As a Patriot, Hernandez hired two of his friends from Bristol, both of whom had criminal records, as assistants. Likewise, one of them, Alexander S. Bradley, was his drug dealer. As Hernandez’s assistant, Bradley’s other duties including calming Hernandez down during fits of rage and paranoia, and obtaining weapons for him.
On April 19, 2017, at 3:05 a.m. EDT, five days after Hernandez was acquitted of the 2012 Boston double homicide of Daniel de Abreu and Safiro Furtado, correction officers found Hernandez hanging by his bedsheets from his window in his cell at the Souza-Baranowski Correctional Center in Lancaster, Massachusetts. He was transported to UMass Memorial Hospital-Leominster, where he was pronounced dead at 4:07 am. He had been smoking K2, a drug associated with psychosis, within 30 hours of his death.
- Full Name: Aaron Josef Hernandez
- Date of Birth: November 6, 1989
- Birth Place: Bristol, Connecticut, United States
- Date of Death: April 19, 2017
- Death Place: Souza-Baranowski Correctional Center, Lancaster, Massachusetts, United States
- Receiving yards: 1,956
- Receiving average: 11.2
- Education: Bristol Central High School, University of Florida
- Height: 6 ft 2 in (1.88 m)
- Weight: 245 lb (111 kg)
- Position: Tight end
- High school: Bristol Central (Bristol, Connecticut)
- College: Florida
- NFL Draft: 2010 / Round: 4 / Pick: 113
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Reference Joe Namath