Aaron Hernandez is in a messy situation. Being investigated in the murder of Odin Lloyd, the suspicious activities continue to pile up for the Patriots’ tight end. New reports also reveal that Hernandez character, as well as his choice in friends is a major concern moving forward, regardless of how the investigation and lawsuit against him pan out.
Hernandez has had red flags around his name since he was drafted out of the University of Florida in 2010. Character concerns caused the first round talent to fall all the way to the fourth round before the New England Patriots were willing to take a chance on him.
Known as the toughest player at the University of Florida during his time in Gainesville, teammates were afraid to mess with him. One scout described his personality as “Self-esteem is quite low; not well-adjusted emotionally, not happy, moods unpredictable, not stable, doesn’t take much to set him off, but not an especially jumpy guy.”
Arriving at Florida at only 17 years old, Hernandez had already developed one concerning behavior. He was actively smoking marijuana, a habit that quickly evolved to an embracing of the party lifestyle that was common for many on campus. He was suspended for one game due to a failed drug test, something scouts say typically doesn’t happen until the third or fourth failed test.
“Street activity” was something the tight end had also been involved with, even prior to his time at Florida, using it as a way to act out after the death of his father. Shortly after arriving at Florida, he was briefly questioned by authorities about a shooting outside a nightclub near campus.
His friends also draw concerns from league scouts, on top of his character. A group of friends traveled with him from his home town in Connecticut to Florida, and became well known in the city for their antics. Although it is unclear what exactly they became known for, he did find himself in a good deal of trouble while he was attending the university and it is unlikely that his friends were unaware of the behavior.
Now in New England, his old friend are still some of his only associates away from the field. Rarely spending any time with teammates away from practice, his old cronies are still over at his house and out at the clubs with him.These men have Hernandez caught up in the lifestyle that has got him in trouble in the past, and appear to have got him in some trouble again.
Old habits die hard, and Hernandez appears to at least be connected with a former drug dealer presently. The victim in the February shooting he is being sued for was convicted for selling narcotics in 2006. The man knew Hernandez and was out at the town with him the night of that incident.
Aaron Hernandez’ work ethic has never been questioned, however his character and choice of friends are now a different story. Whether or not he is guilty of any of the investigations or lawsuits against him, he has raised some red flags involving his behavior and social choices. New England doesn’t have a history of tolerance for situations like this, so something will likely have to give should the Patriots keep him on the roster moving forward.
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Senior Sports Editor
The Guardian Express