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Patriots claim they had ‘no knowledge’ of Aaron Hernandez murder charge

Aaron Hernandez PatriotsAaron Hernandez was released by the New England Patriots less than two hours after he was arrested last Wednesday. Considering law enforcement officials opted not to reveal the charges against Hernandez until his arraignment several hours later, we were left to assume that the team knew something we didn’t. Otherwise, would they have acted so quickly?

According to one of the Boston Globe’s Patriots sources, they would have. On Friday, a high-ranking Patriots executive reportedly told the Globe that the team had no knowledge of Hernandez’s murder charge before cutting him. Apparently the exact charge was irrelevant once it became clear the 23-year-old was arrested in connection with a murder.

“Did it matter to us? No,” the source said. “We were not going to have somebody on the team that’s close to a murder.”

The executive added that Bill Belichick, Robert Kraft and others decided the previous week — when Hernandez’s name first surfaced in the murder investigation — that they were going to cut ties with the tight end if he was arrested regardless of the charge. The source also claimed several people in the New England front office expected Hernandez to be charged with obstruction of justice and were “taken aback” by the first-degree murder charge.

[Related: Patriots sportsbook odds have worsened because of Aaron Hernandez]

As for Hernandez’s contract, the Patriots have voided all of the $5.91 million he was still owed in guaranteed money. Many have speculated that Hernandez will be able to collect some money because of language in his contract, but the team feels it is protected. And if not, they’ll likely make him sue for the money.

“(The contract) was guaranteed for skill and injury, but it wasn’t guaranteed for personal conduct that cast the club in a negative light, and that’s why we cut him,” the executive said. “We know the CBA. We are well within our rights.”

As we have seen, the Patriots have moved quickly to distance themselves from Hernandez, scrubbing him from their statistical existence and offering free exchanges on any of his jerseys. From the sound of it, they were planning to do all that even if he wasn’t charged with murder.

Police reportedly think Aaron Hernandez murdered Odin Lloyd over drugs, secrets

Aaron HernandezA number of theories have been floated around as to why Aaron Hernandez may have murdered Odin Lloyd, with two of the most popular ones having to do with trust issues and drugs. According to one report, both may have been a factor.

On Sunday morning, TMZ reported that law enforcement officials believe they have uncovered enough evidence to indicate that Lloyd “mouthed off” to Hernandez about secrets the former New England Patriots tight end had told him in the past. The “secrets” Lloyd allegedly threw in his face may have had to do with Hernandez’s involvement in drugs and several violent incidents.

[Related: Aaron Hernandez reportedly had gang ties, feared for his life]

TMZ’s law enforcement sources added that they do not believe Lloyd tried to extort Hernandez, but that the 23-year-old went “ballistic” after Lloyd started threatening him with information that Hernandez felt could destroy his relationship with the Patriots and his fiancee.

The part about Lloyd having information about violent crimes involving Hernandez is consistent with the theory that Lloyd may have known about Hernandez’s potential involvement in a double murder that took place in Boston last July. Speaking in street terms, there is a growing belief that Hernandez killed Lloyd because he was a loose end.

See all the LBS coverage of the Aaron Hernandez murder

Families of double murder victims say they did not know Aaron Hernandez

Aaron HernandezIn addition to awaiting trial for the murder of Odin Lloyd, Aaron Hernandez is also being investigated for his potential involvement in a double murder that took place in Boston last July. The victims in that incident, 28-year-old Safiro Teixeira Furtado and 29-year-old Daniel Jorge Correia de Abreu, were shot and killed while they waited in a car at a red light. But what tie did they have to Hernandez?

According to their families, the victims did not know the former New England Patriots tight end. Jose Centeio, Furtado’s cousin and both of the victims’ boss at a cleaning business, told the Boston Herald the crime must not have been planned.

“Whatever they got caught up with, it’s something that just happened at the moment,” Centeio said. “That’s the sad thing about it.”

Another cousin of Furtado, who chose to remain anonymous, agreed that there is no way Furtado was connected with anyone in Hernandez’s circle.

“Hernandez is a multimillionaire,” the cousin said. “It’s a different life.”

[RelatedAaron Hernandez reportedly rented SUV used in 2012 double murder]

At this point, it is unclear whether Hernandez was involved in the 2012 murders or how he may have known the victims and suspects in either case. You always have to consider the possibility that the families of the victims don’t have all the appropriate information, but Centeio spoke with certainty that his slain cousin had no association with Hernandez.

“They don’t have any association with wrongdoing,” he said. “Every family member is anxious to get some kind of closure.”

On Friday, a silver SUV with Rhode Island plates that may have been connected to the 2012 double murder was seized from Hernandez’s uncle’s home. We expect more details to surface in the coming days.

See all the LBS coverage of the Aaron Hernandez murder

Patriots’ sportsbook odds have worsened because of Aaron Hernandez

Aaron HernandezIf you think that the New England Patriots will not be worse off this season despite releasing Aaron Hernandez because of the murder charges he is facing, I’d like to introduce you to some experts who feel otherwise.

According to RJ Bell of Pregame.com, the Patriots’ odds to win the Super Bowl have slightly decreased in recent weeks — they are now 8:1 instead of 7:1. The Pats are also favored by fewer points for their first two games of the season than they were before the Hernandez news. Per Bell, the Las Vegas Hilton dropped the Pats from 7.5 favorites to 7-point favorites at the Buffalo Bills in Week 1. They also dropped from 12-point favorites to -10 against the New York Jets in Week 2.

Bell says Hernandez’s difference-making ability on the field is not really what accounts for the change, but rather the distraction he has caused through his alleged crimes coupled with the Patriots’ lack of depth at tight end.

Bell says that a good but not great player like Hernandez has a borderline “zero effect” on the point spread, “but additional factors – including the scandal’s distraction for the team, plus thinness at tight end due to Gronkowski’s injury, results in a modest downgrade of the Patriots by Las Vegas.”

The Patriots’ are favored by less in their first two games because Rob Gronkowski is expected to be out those weeks, and the dropoff from Gronk and Hernandez to the team’s third and fourth tight ends is significant. This tells us what we already know — without Hernandez, the Patriots need Gronkowski healthy.

Patriots offering fans free exchange of Aaron Hernandez jerseys

Aaron-hernandez-jerseysThe New England Patriots have done all they can to separate themselves from Aaron Hernandez since he was arrested and charged with murder earlier this week. Less than two hours after he was taken into custody, the Patriots announced they released their former tight end. Later that night, all Hernandez merchandise was wiped from the team’s online Proshop.

The Patriots took it a step further on Friday when they announced that they were giving fans an opportunity to exchange their No. 81 Hernandez jerseys for any other jersey in their ProShop, free of charge. The swap is only for jerseys that were purchased at the Patriots official Proshop and will be held on July 6 and 7.

“We know that children love wearing their Patriots jerseys, but may not understand why parents don’t want them wearing their Hernandez jerseys anymore,” Patriots spokesperson Stacey James said in a statement. “We hope this opportunity to exchange those jerseys at the Patriots ProShop for another player’s jersey will be well received by parents.”

Obviously, this is all about brand protection for the Patriots. The fact that they drafted a player with a checkered past who went on to be charged with first-degree murder is not great for the team’s image. Not only that, but Hernandez is being investigated for a double murder that took place last summer. If he was involved with that, New England would have had a criminal on their roster for all of last season.

Whether it’s a PR stunt or not, I’m sure parents appreciate it. If I had a 10-year-old who had a Hernandez jersey, I’d be exchanging it for a Tom Brady jersey — stat.

Police locate rental car prosecutors say Aaron Hernandez rented so accomplices could get away

Aaron-Hernandez-silver-Chrysler-murder

North Attleboro police confirmed on Friday morning that the Chrysler 300 they had been searching for in connection with the murder of Odin Lloyd has been located in Bristol, Conn. The car is believed to have been rented by Aaron Hernandez and has also been tied to 41-year-old Ernest Wallace, for whom police are searching.

Wallace was last seen driving the Chrysler, which you see above courtesy of the Boston Globe’s Wesley Lowery, and is considered to be armed and dangerous. The car was seized early Friday morning.

On Thursday, police issued a wanted poster for Wallace, who is accused of being an accessory after the fact in the murder of Lloyd. Fox 25 Boston shared a photo of the poster and other photos of Wallace here:

[Read more...]

Chris Kluwe drops Aaron Hernandez joke on ‘Conan’ (Video)

Chris-Kluwe-ConanChris Kluwe has been one of the most outspoken players in the NFL over the past several years, particularly when it comes to advocating for human rights and same-sex marriage. The Oakland Raiders punter has never been shy about speaking his mind, and he proved that again on Thursday night with a perfectly timed Aaron Hernandez joke.

Kluwe appeared on “Conan” to promote his new book, “Beautifully Unique Sparkleponies.” At at around the 3:30 mark of the video above, Conan O’Brien asked him if the NFL has ever given him any grief over the tireless effort he has put toward advancing equality. The response:

“They pretty much just left me alone,” Kluwe said. “As long as you’re not out shooting people…”

The crowd erupted with laughter and Kluwe was clearly proud of himself. I’m not sure I would have wanted to be the first one to drop a Hernandez joke, given the fact that Odin Lloyd’s family is still mourning his death. That being said, it was bound to happen. Leave it to the guy who quotes popular comedy movies when discussing the NFL Draft. Just wait until Hernandez makes his way onto Kluwe’s infamous whiteboard.

H/T Eye on Football