BOSTON (CBS) — Everybody knows that Aaron Hernandez caused trouble during his time at Florida. It was Hernandez’s behavior — failing a drug test, whispers of gang affiliation, some covered-up scuffles, etc. — that led to the first-round talent dropping to the fourth round.
Even still, nobody in the NFL could have known what Hernandez — now a convicted murderer — was truly capable of doing. In fact, he apparently even had his college head coach convinced that his troubles were behind him.
The MMQB’s Greg Bedard wrote a story in which he details a conversation he had with Floyd Reese, who was the Patriots’ senior football adviser during the time the team drafted Hernandez. Reese said that Urban Meyer, Florida’s head coach at the time, believed that despite the issues, Hernandez would mature and behave in the NFL.
“We knew he had some issues prior. Urban Meyer and Bill [Belichick] were very, very close, and I think Urban convinced Bill that, you know, that these things weren’t going to be an issue,” Reese told Bedard. “Of course, after that [rookie contract], after he signed [his $40 million contract extension], things kind of went awry.”
That is, obviously, putting things lightly, as Hernandez has already been sentenced to life in prison and is still set to stand trial for a double murder he’s accused of committing in Boston in July 2012.
Reese told Bedard that what might have worked against Hernandez the most was to be employed close to his hometown of Bristol, Conn.
“There were a lot of times where he would leave Foxboro and drive back to Hartford so he could be with his guys,” Reese said.
And ultimately, though the Patriots couldn’t have known that Hernandez’s crimes and misdeeds would be severe as they turned out to be, he admitted that the red flags were present before the team drafted him.
“When he was at Florida, he had some issues there too,” Reese told Bedard. “There were some things that went on. We all knew about it. It was just from our standpoint, we were getting a first-round talent in the fourth round under a contract that was going to keep him in line or it wasn’t going to cost us a penny.”
Zolak & Bertrand discussed this story on Friday’s show. Listen below: