From the moment Aaron Hernandez entered the NFL, players apparently knew of his reputation.
When the former New England Patriots tight end was in college at the University of Florida, he was implicated in a double shooting in Gainesville, Fla., but charges were not filed at the time. He also had gotten into a bar fight earlier that year.
According to former NFL linebacker Bart Scott, Hernandez’s checkered past became fodder for taunting on the field once he became a pro.
The now-WFAN radio host detailed the taunts players used to direct at Hernandez, unknowing of what actually was going on behind the scenes. And in hindsight, it’s pretty chilling.
“We used to always mess with Hernandez when we were on the field and say, ‘Hey man I heard they found the body,'” Scott said. “And we thought it was a joke because we knew something had happened in Florida. So the whole running joke was hey I heard they found the body. Like we all knew he was a bad guy, there had been stories floating around this guy for years.”
Scott also noted that when Hernandez visited Patriots head coach Bill Belichick at the 2013 NFL Combine it was a “cry for help.” He also went into how gangs can affect NFL players, and what he believed to be one of the biggest issues right off the bat for Hernandez, who was a Bristol, Conn. native.
“Worst thing to ever happen to Hernandez was the fact that he got picked by a team where he was from. Because the hardest thing to do when you’re an athlete is to separate from where you come from,” Scott said. “We knew that he was in a gang, which a lot of players are in gangs, a lot of us grow up in gangs and what happens is it’s hard to remove yourself from them, but we’re removed by distance.
“The hardest thing for Hernandez was they were right there, so you can’t mature and distance yourself from them because they were there Day 1.”
The former Baltimore Ravens and New York Jets linebacker is the only source to claim this so far, and he noted he wasn’t sure if other teams in the league used Hernandez’s past as a source of ridicule for Hernandez. But if it actually was common, it will be interesting to see if more players confirm Scott’s story.
Thumbnail photo via The Sun Chronicle/Pool USA TODAY Sports Images
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