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


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:

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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

Aaron Hernandez reportedly rented SUV used in 2012 shooting

Aaron Hernandez PatriotsNot only is Aaron Hernandez facing a first-degree murder charge for the death of Odin Lloyd, five additional charges, and a potential lawsuit for allegedly shooting a friend, but he is also being investigated for potential ties to a 2012 double murder in Boston.

And his alleged involvement in the case is looking a lot stronger.

On Thursday, LBS’ Steve DelVecchio wrote that police reportedly had located and impounded the SUV involved in the 2012 shooting. Witnesses said the alleged killers opened fire from a gray or silver SUV with Rhode Island plates and killed two men while they were stopped at a red light. The report DelVecchio cited said police believed Hernandez rented the car.

Later on Thursday, ESPN’s Adam Schefter reported that Boston PD located the SUV in question and that Hernandez rented it.

Let’s make that clear one more time: Aaron Hernandez supposedly rented the SUV used in a 2012 double murder, allegedly shot a friend in the face in February, and prosecutors allege he orchestrated the murder of Odin Lloyd, which also involved a rented SUV.

Like Steve said, the common theme here when it comes to alleged killings involving Hernandez is rental cars. The 2012 double murder may also be the motive behind the killing of Lloyd.

See all the LBS coverage of the Aaron Hernandez murder case

Fans chant ‘Innocent!’ at Aaron Hernandez after he leaves courthouse (Video)

Fans-cheer-Aaron-HernandezThe evidence being compiled against Aaron Hernandez regarding the murder of Odin Lloyd gets more compelling by the hour, but that does not mean the former New England Patriots tight end has been abandoned by his entire fan base. As he was leaving Bristol County Courthouse following his bail hearing on Thursday, a collection of fans lined the streets and cheered for Hernandez.

There is a reason Hernandez has been charged with first-degree murder and is being held without bail. Whether he murdered Lloyd or not, there is enough circumstantial evidence to suggest he could very well be guilty. Not only that, but investigators are also building a case that indicates Hernandez was involved in another double murder a year ago.

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Police reportedly impound SUV tied to 2012 double murder that may have been rented by Aaron Hernandez

Aaron HernandezAaron Hernandez’s possible involvement in a July 2012 double murder that took place in Boston has become a bit clearer, as Boston Police have reportedly located and impounded a silver SUV that may be tied to the shooting. According to CNN.com, investigators believe Hernandez was renting the vehicle at the time of the double murder last summer.

On Thursday morning, multiple reports revealed that Hernandez is being investigated as a possible suspect in the July 2012 incident. Later, a report from the Boston Globe claimed that law enforcement officials have reason to believe Hernandez may have killed 27-year-old Odin Lloyd earlier this month because Lloyd had information about the double murder.

[Related: Was this Aaron Hernandez's murder weapon?]

A Boston Police blog entry from last year stated that two men, Safiro Furtado and Daniel Abreu, were shot to death while they sat in their car at a red light. The shooting is believed to have stemmed from a fight that had broken out at Rumor nightclub in Boston earlier in the night between two men and a group that included Hernandez. According to witnesses, the shooters opened fire on the victims from a gray or silver SUV with Rhode Island license plates.

Coincidentally (or not), the silver SUV police reportedly impounded on Thursday that they believe was rented last year by Hernandez had a Rhode Island registration.

Common theme: Rental cars.

See all the LBS coverage of the Aaron Hernandez murder case

Jim Kelly: Aaron Hernandez situation ‘sad,’ New England Patriots are ‘vulnerable’

Jim-Kelly-BillsThe most important takeaway from the Aaron Hernandez murder investigation is that a 27-year-old man lost his life at the hands of a cold-blooded killer. However, the reality of the situation is that Hernandez’s arrest will have major implications for the New England Patriots and the NFL. The Patriots’ passing attack has taken a major hit, and Jim Kelly does not feel bad about it.

The Buffalo Bills legend admitted on Thursday that he’ll take the help for his team any way it comes.

“I don’t really feel too sorry for them because sooner or late the Bills got to rise to the top, and if we have to take it that way?” Kelly told NFL AM, via Tim Graham of The Buffalo News. “Oh, well.”

No one could have anticipated a murder investigation, but the Patriots knew the risk they were taking in drafting Hernandez. I’m sure they don’t expect anyone to feel sorry for them after the way it turned out. Couple the losses of Hernandez, Wes Welker and Brandon Lloyd with Rob Gronkowski’s questionable health and Kelly feels that the Pats have their work cut out for them.

“They’re very vulnerable from the standpoint if you look at what Tom Brady’s lost,” he said. “When you lose a Wes Welker, that’s going to hurt. There’s no doubt. They have to feel something when it comes to losing their four, five top receivers.”

As for Hernandez himself, Kelly described the situation as “very, very sad” and expressed condolences to the victim’s family.

“Stupidity,” he said. “What are you thinking? This is a society today where you have to watch what you do, watch what you say. If this holds true, man, it’s a sad day not only for Hernandez’s family, but for the NFL in general.”

Amen. Hernandez’s defense seemingly gets worse by the day. So does New England’s roster. Most people operate under the assumption that Bill Belichick and Brady always figure it out, but it may not be that simple this time around. Time will tell.

H/T Ben Volin