There’s a battle brewing to obtain Aaron Hernandez’s brain after the former New England Patriots tight end committed suicide in a Massachusetts prison early Wednesday morning.

Hernandez’s family wants to donate his brain to Boston University for CTE (chronic traumatic encephalopathy) study, defense attorney Jose Baez said Thursday. However, the Massachusetts medical examiner is withholding Hernandez’s brain “illegally,” Baez claimed Thursday when speaking to a scrum of reporters in Boston.

“If we don’t get answers and answers quickly, we’re going straight to court,” Baez said.

However, Dan Bennett, secretary of public safety and security, said in a statement that “no one is going to stand in the way of the family’s wishes for Boston University to have Aaron Hernandez’s brain.”

“The Office of the Chief Medical Examiner is conducting an investigation into the circumstances of Aaron Hernandez’s death, which may require further analysis of his body,” Bennett said, according to The Globe. “Once that is complete, the brain will be released to Boston University.”

Baez said he also will conduct an investigation into Hernandez’s death. Both Baez and Hernandez’s agent, Brian Murphy, said they were skeptical the ex-Patriot would kill himself.

Hernandez, 27, was found hanging from a bed sheet, which he tied around his prison cell window, with the door barricaded. He was serving a life sentence without the possibility of parole for the 2013 murder of Odin Lloyd.

CTE is a degenerative disease common in football players caused by repeated blows to the head.

Thumbnail pool photo by Keith Bedford/The Boston Globe