Deion BranchCurrent Patriots have stayed mum on the North Attleboro homicide investigation, but Deion Branch became the second former teammate of Aaron Hernandez‘s to speak out on the shocking murder investigation involving the tight end.

Branch spoke in a much more positive light about Hernandez than Matt Light, who said he “never embraced — never believed in — anything Aaron Hernandez stood for.” Branch said he hopes the former Patriots tight end is innocent.

“Aaron is a great guy and a great friend of mine and a great teammate,” Branch told The Albany Herald. “I love him to death, and it was shocking to hear his name involved in this situation. I truly hope and pray he doesn’t have any dealings with it.”

Branch got the majority of his playing time last season while Hernandez was out with injuries. The 11-year veteran is currently a free agent.

The wide receiver said he was surprised to hear the news about Hernandez, whose off-field troubles during the last three years didn’t start to surface in the headlines until last week.

“That’s my guy, man,” Branch said of Hernandez. “That’s my guy. It really shocked me. He was a great kid. Overall, I hope the best that he isn’t involved with it and I hope he gets his name cleared, but most importantly I send my prayers and condolences out to the Lloyd family.”