The New England #Patriots have released Aaron Hernandez.— New England Patriots (@Patriots) June 26, 2013
Adam Schefter added that the tight end was not claimed on Thursday:
No surprise but official: Aaron Hernandez cleared waivers.— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) June 27, 2013
The move comes after Hernandez was arrested on Wednesday morning, per The New York Times. Shortly thereafter, Hernandez was charged with murder and five gun-related charges and entered a plea of not guilty, per Wesley Lowery of The Boston Globe:
#Hernandez charged with murder and five gun-related charges. Pleas not guilty.— Wesley Lowery (@WesleyLowery) June 26, 2013
UPDATE: Saturday, June 29, at 10:00 a.m ET by Sam Westmoreland
According to a report from the Boston Globe, the Patriots have opted to stop paying Hernandez's contract, and are going to make him fight for any further cash from the deal.
Per the report:
But the Patriots believe the NFL’s bylaws and collective bargaining agreement have specific language about “conduct detrimental to the best interests of professional football” that works in favor of them voiding all future payments to Hernandez, including an installment of his signing bonus.
“It was guaranteed for skill and injury, but it wasn’t guaranteed for personal conduct that cast the club in a negative light, and that’s why we cut him,” the source said. “We know the CBA. We are well within our rights.”
The source said the Patriots didn’t confer with the NFL about voiding Hernandez’s remaining guaranteed money, and as of late Friday the NFL Players Association hadn’t responded to a request asking if they will fight for Hernandez to receive the rest of his money.
The source said the team probably could have made it easier to recoup more cash and salary cap space had it waited for commissioner Roger Goodell to suspend Hernandez, but leadership wasn’t 100 percent confident that would happen when they made the decision to release Hernandez around 10:30 a.m. Wednesday. Hernandez was formerly charged around 2:30 p.m.
The source also said the team will try to recoup previous bonus money awarded to Hernandez, though it could be tough given Hernandez’s significant legal fees.
---End of Update---
UPDATE: Thursday, June 27, at 3:05 p.m. ET by Sam Westmoreland
The NFL Network's Ian Rapoport gave us more information regarding Hernandez's status as an NFL player:
---End of Update---
The Massachusetts State Police gave more specifics on the charges and the status of the case:
Hernandez charged with Murder, Unlawful possession of a firearm, Possession of a large capacity firearm. Invest ongoing. No further updates.— MASS STATE POLICE (@MassStatePolice) June 26, 2013
Despite arguments from the defense, Hernandez was denied bail, according to Ian Rapoport of NFL.com:
Aaron Hernandez will be held "without bail," according to the judge. Hernandez's attorney had hoped he could return to fiancee & small baby— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) June 26, 2013
Lowery had more details of the case against Hernandez:
Prosecutor: Police have #Hernandez on tape with firearm and saying "you can't trust anyone anymore" before picking up Lloyd.— Wesley Lowery (@WesleyLowery) June 26, 2013
#Hernandez's (undestroyed) phone included texts to the victim and two friends on the night of murder.— Wesley Lowery (@WesleyLowery) June 26, 2013
During the arraignment, it was said that Hernandez had issues with some of the people Odin Lloyd was talking to at a nightclub, per the The Boston Globe:
Prosecutor says Aaron Hernandez was 'upset' with Odin Lloyd after Lloyd had spoken at a nightclub to people Hernandez 'had troubles with.'— The Boston Globe (@BostonGlobe) June 26, 2013
The authorities also said that Hernandez was caught on tape with a gun in his hand:
Prosecutor: When he gets home, Hernandez walks through home with gun in hand -- and it's captured on video.— The Boston Globe (@BostonGlobe) June 26, 2013
The prosecutor went on to say that a shell casing in Hernandez's car matched one found at the scene, per Pro Football Talk:
Prosecutor: Shell casing was found in the car Hernandez rented. It matched the casings found at the scene. #itsover— ProFootballTalk (@ProFootballTalk) June 26, 2013
Hernandez will be taken directly to county jail following his arraignment, per Doug Kyed of NESN:
FOX 25 just said Hernandez will go to Bristol County Jail after arraignment. This is a no bail situation.— Doug Kyed (@DougKyedNESN) June 26, 2013
As Hernandez was being taken from the police station to his arraignment, Bree Sison of CBS Boston reports that members of the crowd outside voiced their support:
Peter Wilson of WBZ-TV in Boston got this photo of the former Patriots tight end as he was being led into the courthouse:
The team released the following statement on Wednesday before Hernandez was charged with murder:
A young man was murdered last week and we extend our sympathies to the family and friends who mourn his loss. Words cannot express the disappointment we feel knowing that one of our players was arrested as a result of this investigation. We realize that law enforcement investigations into this matter are ongoing. We support their efforts and respect the process. At this time, we believe this transaction is simply the right thing to do.
Matt Light, one of Hernandez's former teammates with the Patriots, had this to say, according to the Dayton Daily News.
But Tuesday when I asked the former New England Patriot star tackle about his old teammate - tight end Aaron Hernandez - his easy smile quickly vanished and he went silent for several seconds as he decided what, if anything, he would say.
“I never talk about other guys, but I will say I have never embraced - never believed in - anything Aaron Hernandez stood for,” Light finally said.
The NFL also released a statement about the incident to NFL Network's Steve Wyche before the murder charge, via NFL.com:
The involvement of an NFL player in a case of this nature is deeply troubling. The Patriots have released Aaron Hernandez, who will have his day in court. At the same time, we should not forget the young man who was the victim in this case and take this opportunity to extend our deepest sympathy to Odin Lloyd's family and friends.
Ian Rapoport of NFL.com reports that Hernandez's fate with the Patriots was sealed from the moment he was arrested:
#Patriots made the call to cut Hernandez if he was arrested in this murder case last week not today, I'm told. Once it happened, he was gone— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) June 26, 2013
The Patriots will be unable to recuperate Hernandez's signing bonus from the contract he signed last year, as Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk notes:
Second, the move prevents the Patriots from ever recovering a penny of the $12.5 million signing bonus from his 2012 contract extension worth a total of $39 million. It remains to be seen whether the Patriots will try to avoid paying $3.25 million in a deferred payment due on March 31, 2014, and whether they’ll try to wipe out base-salary guaranteed of $1.323 million in 2013 and $1.137 million in 2014.
ESPN's Adam Schefter confirmed Pro Football Talk's hypothesis regarding Hernandez's salary:
By releasing Aaron Hernandez today, Patriots have waived all rights to recoup bonus money or salary through the CBA.— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) June 26, 2013
Aaron Hernandez's new salary-cap charge in 2013 is $5.092 million, an increase of $1.019 million.— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) June 26, 2013
Aaron Hernandez's 2014 salary-cap charge will be $7.5 million, which is remaining pro-ration of his signing bonus.— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) June 26, 2013
Christopher Price of WEEI.com has more details on what a possible conviction would mean for Hernandez and the Patriots as it pertains to salary:
League source tells me if Hernandez is convicted, the "Patriots will have a very strong case when it comes to recouping money."— Christopher Price (@cpriceNFL) June 26, 2013
Another source says "The NFLPA is going to have a hard time defending against someone involved in a murder and its coverup."— Christopher Price (@cpriceNFL) June 26, 2013
While far more than football is at stake in this case, the Patriots are losing a very talented player. In three seasons, Hernandez had 175 receptions for 1,956 yards and 18 touchdowns.
Alongside Rob Gronkowski, Hernandez made up one-half of the NFL's most dangerous tight-end duo.