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No Winners in the Aaron Hernandez Drama

The story of a rise and fall, and a life wasted.

Wednesday closed a dark chapter with the unexpected apparent suicide of Aaron Hernandez.

The former New England Patriots tight end seemingly had it all. He had the football career with a top team, the house, the car, the wife, the life. Many in the world today would love to have a fraction of the good fortune that came upon him. The story of Aaron Hernandez is one of a man who had the world on his finger and blew it.

Aaron Hernandez: Rising Star

An adept football player growing up, this Connecticut product went to the University of Florida to suit up for Urban Meyer. As part of the Gators team, he won a national championship in 2009 alongside Tim Tebow. Hernandez was the leading receiver for Florida in the 2009 BCS National Championship.

He parlayed this success into a fourth-round pick in the NFL Draft in 2010. Drafted at the same time as Rob Gronkowski, the two became a dynamic duo around Tom Brady. In 2012, the Pats signed him to a five-year contract extension valued at $40 million.

This was someone, at least in the view of external persons, who rode high. A comfortable life was his for the taking, and the dream was all his. Many pass through the annals of football without getting the opportunity handed to him.

Aaron Hernandez: The Unraveling

In the summer of 2013, those living in the Boston media market will remember the media frenzy around Aaron Hernandez. A Patriots player was named in connection with a murder investigation. The victim was Odin Lloyd, a late friend of the Pats’ tight end. Before long, all of the news channel vans were parked outside Hernandez’s home in North Attleboro, a southern suburb of Boston on the Rhode Island border.

Days later, after his house was searched the first time by police, Aaron Hernandez left that residence in handcuffs. This began the downward spiral of the talented football player, who would spend the last almost four years of his life estranged from freedom.

New England cut Hernandez on the same day, ending a promising NFL career. He would later be indicted for and convicted of the murder of Odin Lloyd. In 2015, a Massachusetts jury convicted Hernandez of Lloyd’s murder, which was to have been appealed at the time of his death. Hernandez would be summarily acquitted of two other murders, with alleged connections to other criminal incidents.

Only Losers

Aaron Hernandez went from living it up as an athlete and celebrity in 2012 to murder suspect in 2013, and dead in 2017. His was the story of a meteoric collapse from fame and favor.

This was not only the end of a sad episode for the New England Patriots or NFL. It was a bitter, dismal conclusion to Hernandez’s own bitter, dismal conclusion. Over the last several years, it all came apart, and today, there are no winners. Aaron Hernandez is gone, Odin Lloyd is gone, and other families still seek justice from elsewhere. Many lives were wasted, and nothing will bring them back.

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