Raj Mehta/USA Today Sports

Bill Belichick told players to forget about Aaron Hernandez after murder arrest, says ex-Patriots linebacker

Alex Reimer
October 17, 2018 - 3:08 pm

The Patriots were blissfully ignorant of Aaron Hernandez’s violent off-field behavior, and once the star tight end was arrested for Odin Lloyd’s murder, they wanted to forget him. 

The latest installment of the Boston Globe’s Spotlight series on Aaron Hernandez, “A Killer in the Huddle,” details for the first time Belichick’s message to the team when Hernandez was arrested at his North Attleboro home in connection to Lloyd’s slaying in June 2013. According to linebacker Dane Fletcher, one of Hernandez’s few genuine friends on the club, Belichick was curt.

“He is not part of this team,’’ Fletcher recalled Belichick saying in a brief address, per the Globe. “He will not be spoken about in this locker room.”

Publicly, Belichick read a seven-minute statement to the press that day at Gillette Stadium, saying he was “personally disappointed and hurt” by Hernandez’s arrest. Belichick told law enforcement he asked Hernandez whether he was involved in the murder, and the tight end replied, “Absolutely not.” 

It was the last conversation the two would have. 

The article also outlines the infamous NFL Combine meeting between Belichick and Hernandez that took place in February 2013, roughly six months after the double murder in Boston and shortly after Hernandez had shot his friend Alexander Bradley in the head in Florida. Bradley was with Hernandez when the double murder was committed.

Hernandez’s agent, Brian Murphy, told a Suffolk grand jury Hernandez wanted the Patriots to trade him to the west coast, because he feared Bradley would seek retribution for the shooting. Belichick, however, shot down the request.

“We can’t trade you; we can’t release you for numerous reasons,” Belichick told his tight end, according to Murphy. 

State-troopers who spoke with Belichick about the meeting wrote that Hernandez told the Patriots’ coach he was concerned about his family’s safety. Belichick said he offered to get Hernandez in touch with the team’s security chief, Mark Briggs, but the overture was declined. After that, Belichick proposed helping Hernandez find a new residence, which wound up being the Franklin flophouse. Interestingly enough, the Patriots staffer who aided Hernandez’s search for the new place told police the tight end “rented the worst apartment with the least security.”

Belichick never told police about Hernandez’s fears. 

Some of Hernandez’s teammates, meanwhile, reportedly picked up some warning signs about his erratic behavior. In Part Three of the series, which was published Monday, former Patriots wideout Brandon Lloyd details some advice Wes Welker told him about Hernandez.

“(Welker) stops me and, kind of touches me on my shoulders and he’s looking at me wide-eyed in my face and he says, ‘Your locker is in between (Rob) Gronkowski and Hernandez. I just want to warn you that he’s going to talk about being bathed by his mother. He’s going to have his genitalia out in front of you while you’re sitting out on your stool. He’s going to have his towel and try to dry off in front of you while you’re sitting at your locker. He’s going to talk about gay sex. Just do your best to ignore it,” Lloyd told the Globe. “Even walk away.’ So, even before I met Aaron on a personal level, that was how I was warned about him prior to getting to my locker.’”

Tom Brady appeared to have some concern about Hernandez as well. Following the Patriots’ 2011 Divisional Round win against the Broncos, Brady told Tim Tebow, Hernandez’s college quarterback, he was trying to “watch over Aaron and Brandon (Spikes).” Brady later remarked the two “don’t make it easy.” 

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