I’ve kept relatively quiet on Aaron Hernandez since his arrest, but with today’s guilty verdict I felt like it was appropriate to make one last post. The above GIFset is from 2011, when Gronk and Hernandez were the toast of the football world as the Pats’ two tight end offense destroyed the rest of the NFL.
It’s hard to believe now that the two were linked so closely in those early few years, now things couldn’t be much different.
Justice won today and really, everyone else lost. Odin Lloyd’s family, Hernandez, the Patriots, the NFL, the fans… it’s just sad all the way around. The Lloyd family gets closure and we can all close the book on Aaron Hernandez, but there are no winners.
The lasting image in my mind is that of Hernandez celebrating after scoring a touchdown in Super Bowl 46. Someday he’ll be an old man in jail telling some other young inmate about that moment, that he had a huge contract and the world on a string and he threw it all away.
I can understand the Patriots taking a chance on someone like Hernandez. When he was coming out it appeared his only issue was marijuana which is common and probably not that far off from being legalized.
Perhaps they could’ve done more to investigate some of the covered-up violent episodes that slowly came out after his arrest, but still, this is the NFL, where violent alpha males try to kill each other once a week. Those kind of people aren’t always model citizens.
But being drafted by a team so close to his home is probably the worst thing that could’ve happened to Hernandez. He would’ve been best served far, far away from Connecticut.
Still, the murder of Odin Lloyd didn’t have much to do with Hernandez’s past in Connecticut. It was Hernandez’s short temper and paranoia that likely would’ve gotten him into trouble no matter where he landed.
Having a couple hometown friends who would do anything asked of them so close by just enabled Hernandez to think he could get away with anything, even a sloppy murder just a short distance from his home.
Hernandez’s three seasons will always be a grim footnote in Patriots history, but also a sad one of lives lost and talent wasted.
Hernandez’s past and demons are well-chronicled, but he had a chance to put that all behind him, to have a successful career on a team that wanted him around long-term. But like so many young athletes who are given so much so soon, Hernandez never truly grew up and only become more entitled with success.
Now he’ll have the rest of his life behind bars to consider just how close he was to having it all, instead of being a murderer who once caught a touchdown in the Super Bowl.