Jose Baez’s new book, “Unnecessary Roughness: Inside the Trial and Final Days of Aaron Hernandez,” will have plenty of eye-opening anecdotes and factoids about his time defending and the life of the former New England Patriots tight end.
But this one might take the cake.
Per Yahoo! Sports’ Dan Wetzel, Baez claims in the book that Hernandez sold his jersey number, which at the time was No. 85, to veteran wide receiver Chad Ochocinco, in order to finance a drug deal.
Yes, it sounds like complete fiction even for the wild life of Hernandez, but here’s Baez’s account of the matter.
The lawyer claims that despite Hernandez earning decent money on a rookie contract, he often declared he was broke, and it was commonplace for young athletes to “turn to the drug trade” by “floating” money to dealers who buy the product in bulk and give the players a cut of the profit.
“All they have to do is hand the money to someone they trust and wait for the return,” Baez wrote, per Wetzel.
Baez claims this was the case after Hernandez’s rookie season, as he didn’t have the money to float to a dealer so he sold his jersey number to Ochocinco to finance the deal.
“Aaron figured Ocho Cinco (sic) might want to wear number 85 with the Patriots so he approached Ocho Cinco (sic) and offered to sell him the number for $75,000,” Baez wrote. “Mr. Cinco balked at the price and countered with $50,000. Aaron accepted, gave him the number, and went back to the number 81 he had in college. Aaron took the money and floated it to his cousin’s husband, T.L. Singleton, who gave Aaron back $120,000.”
Both Hernandez and Ochocinco denied money being involved in the trade. Singleton died in car accident in 2013.
Baez notes Hernandez initially didn’t cop to trading the money to finance the deal, but eventually spilled the beans.
“Okay, I knew what he was going to do with it, but it was not something we ever spoke of,” Hernandez said, according to Baez. “He just paid me back.”
Hernandez signed a lucrative $40-million contract after the 2011 season. He was arrested in 2013 for the murder of Odin Lloyd before he committed suicide in 2017.
Thumbnail photo via The Sun Chronicle/Pool USA TODAY Sports Images