It all happened so fast–or seemed to. But maybe the seeds of Aaron Hernandez’s destruction were there all along. A mere two years ago Hernandez signed a $40 million contract extension with Tom Brady’s New England Patriots. He was just a few years removed from high school sports stardom in Bristol, Connecticut. (A pretty good place get attention for sports prowess; it’s ESPN’s headquarters.) Hernandez had everything going for him–an ambitious, aggressive kid with a full ride to play football for the Florida Gators and a sure shot at the NFL.
Hernandez went to Florida and later slam dunked his NFL shot, but trouble lurked. Hernandez seemed to taunt it. Anger management was a problem. Drugs, fights, proximity to a nightclub shooting–a regular menu, sadly, in college football culture. A year after signing his extension, just two years after he became a big time NFL star, Hernandez was dropped by the Patriots–on the day he was charged with the murder of Odin Lloyd, a young semipro football player who was shot seven times near Hernandez’s home. Almost inconceivably, Hernandez also faces charges for a double homicide in 2012, which has not yet come to trial. One of the witnesses in that case alleges that Hernandez also later shot him, in the eye, according to CNN. Jury selection in the Lloyd murder case begins this week. Hernandez has two co-defendants.