Aaron Hernandez Tied To Second Murder Investigation
AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:
From NPR News, this is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED from NPR News. I'm Audie Cornish.
ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:
And I'm Robert Siegel. The Aaron Hernandez story gets more sordid by the day. The former tight end for the New England Patriots was arrested yesterday and charged with the murder of 27-year-old Odin Lloyd. And today, according to the Boston Globe, he is being investigated in connection with a double murder last year. For Hernandez, trouble with the law goes back to his days when he was a star for the University of Florida, where he won a national title with then-coach Urban Meyer in 2009. And brushes with the law for the Florida program were nothing new under Meyer's six years in Gainesville. Well, joining us now is Pat Forde, national college columnist for Yahoo Sports. Welcome to the program.
PAT FORDE: Thank you, Robert. Glad to be with you.
SIEGEL: And reading about Aaron Hernandez, who's only accused of having committed a crime - he's not convicted of anything - I'm struck by how many questions about his behavior preceded his arrest. Was this someone who in college, a player who had trouble written all over him?
FORDE: Well, there's no doubt that there were warning signs. That's the biggest reason why he slipped to the fourth round of the NFL draft with what most people considered first-round talent. There were a lot of concerns about his character and his comportment. There were some incidents at the University of Florida, though a lot of it was kept out of the public eye for the most part.
SIEGEL: For example?
FORDE: Well, there were some altercations. There were some positive marijuana tests, and I think the coaching staff, while they tolerated a lot of it because he was such a good player, I think they were also very concerned about where it may lead him.
SIEGEL: When Aaron Hernandez, who was playing for the national championship Florida team - most of us, you know, TV football fans were focused on the prayerful, home-schooled quarterback Tim Tebow. Were most of the players or nearly all of the players more like Tebow than like Hernandez or how odd an outlier was Aaron Hernandez in Florida?
FORDE: There were more than a few players who had some Aaron Hernandez in them, I think you could say. Not necessarily murderous intent or anything like that but there were a lot of off-the-field problems with those Florida teams.
SIEGEL: I mean, dozens of arrests, I gather, a couple of dozen different players involved in all this. Was this a college football team that was egregious or was this typical of a team that decided it would play for the national championship every year?
FORDE: Well, I think that there are a lot of football teams out, major college football teams, powerhouse teams, that are willing to take a lot of chances and cut a lot of corners with talented players that have some character issues. However, I think in Florida it might have been a little bit more so than other places. I mean, I can't think of another place that had quite the spate of arrests that occurred in Urban Meyer's time. I mean, some star players really had some issues when they got out of Florida.
SIEGEL: You say all of this led to Aaron Hernandez slipping to the fourth round in the National Football League draft, but ultimately, he was signed by the New England Patriots and evidently they didn't have any problems with his behavior.
FORDE: Evidently. Let's face it, on the field, he paid off rather gloriously for New England. I mean, he was a very, very good player and that's why he got the $41 million contract. And New England has had some success taking some guys with some checkered pasts - I don't want to say reforming them - but making it work. And maybe they thought that would be the case here. And, you know, to the naked eye, from the outside it had worked until this shocking revelation came up.
SIEGEL: Pat Forde, thanks for talking with us about the story of Aaron Hernandez.
FORDE: Thank you. My pleasure.
SIEGEL: That's Pat Forde, who is national college columnist for Yahoo Sports.
NPR transcripts are created on a rush deadline by a contractor for NPR, and accuracy and availability may vary. This text may not be in its final form and may be updated or revised in the future. Please be aware that the authoritative record of NPR's programming is the audio.