Bryan Felix ’15
This Off-Season for the New England Patriots has been pretty “off” for them, especially so for former TE Aaron Hernandez. The key word there is “former.” Arrested, dropped and recently indicted for murder of the first degree is not how a star NFL should prepare for the season. After a June 17th murder of semi-pro football player Odin Llyod, a close friend of Aaron’s, police then began to search for answers when they found Hernandez destroying his phone and home security the day after the murder. The police then obtained a search warrant for Aaron’s house the next day and arrested Hernandez at his home, only 1 mile away from the crime, on obstruction of justice, 5 counts of assorted gun violations and 1 count of 1st-degree murder on June 26th. Only 90 minutes after did the Patriots release Hernandez while also being denied waivered by any team by Commissioner Roger Goodell. The story became quiet for a while until last Thursday August 22nd, when Hernandez was officially indicted on murder of the first degree by a grand jury. He will now awaiting his trail, his name shamed and career suspended until he is either convicted, with possible life sentence with no parole, or found not guilty. Hernandez is not the only one that is deep in trouble now, as the NFL’s crime laden off-season left an irreversible mark on the image of the National Football League. What may be worse though is the Patriots though, as they lost Alfonso Dennard too to DUI charges and now lack their star TE. Of course they still have Brady and Gronkowski and all 19 other starters, but Hernandez was one of Brady’s favorite targets during games, and was a pro-bowl elect in 2011. However with Gronk’s frequent health issues, currently his back, sidelining him for the beginning of this season, all eyes are on Gillette Stadium for this season to see if Bill Belichick and Tom Brady can pull out another playoff run even with the many off field distractions plaguing the team.