After a couple weeks of speculation regarding New England Patriots tight end Aaron Hernandez's status, things came crashing down hard on Wednesday as he was arrested by police at his North Attleborough, Mass. home and then released by the Pats, according to Rich Eisen of NFL Network.
The arrest occurred in conjunction with an ongoing investigation stemming from the death of 27-year-old semi-pro football player Odin Lloyd, according to Kevin Manahan of USA Today. Lloyd's body was reportedly found in an industrial park near Hernandez's home on June 17, and since Hernandez had been seen with Lloyd one day earlier, he became a prime suspect.
Although the arrest had seemingly been in the works for days, the Patriots releasing Hernandez quickly came as a shock to many. Ralph Vacchiano of the New York Daily News was particularly surprised by the swift action of Patriots head coach Bill Belichick and New England's powers that be:
Known for often taking the other side of the coin, ESPN's Michael Smith was more surprised that it took the Pats as long as it did to release Hernandez than by the release itself:
The Patriots released a statement upon making the decision to part ways with Hernandez and while the organization recognized that the investigation has yet to come to a conclusion, it made the choice that it believed to be right, according to the SportsCenter Twitter feed:
New England has already removed Hernandez from its roster on Patriots.com, according to ESPN's Darren Rovell:
Not everyone related to Hernandez has been as quick as the Patriots to write him off, though. Hernandez endorses Puma athletic products and the company has yet to comment or take action with regards to Hernandez's status with the company (via Rovell):
Although Hernandez certainly appears to be in dire straits, the possibility remains that he could be innocent of whatever charges are brought against him. This is a point that Jason McIntyre of Big Lead Sports brought to light as he was taken off guard by New England's move:
Perhaps there are some NFL teams out there with the same mindset as McIntyre. If that is the case, then Hernandez could potentially find himself on another team. According to Ian Rapoport of NFL Network, Hernandez must pass through waivers, and teams have until 4 p.m. ET on Thursday to claim him.
Money was clearly no object for the Patriots when they decided to cut Hernandez loose. According to the Spotrac.com Twitter feed, releasing Hernandez will still cost the Patriots nearly $13 million against the cap over the next two seasons:"
Very few things are impossible in the NFL, but another team claiming Hernandez is probably as close as it gets considering what he is facing. Football is likely the last thing on the mind of Hernandez and those close to him, though.
ESPN's Matthew Berry is a fantasy football expert who is constantly crunching numbers and determining what roster moves mean for fantasy value, but he took a step back and focused on other things upon hearing about Hernandez's arrest and subsequent release:
The overall reactions did not slow down once the charges were announced. The Boston Globe reported the details of the arraignment:
ESPN's Adam Schefter also added details about the additional charges:
While this story has been circulating for about a week, the actual arrest caught many by surprise. This is especially true of the first-degree murder charge. Rachel Nichols of Turner Sports was one of a large portion of people expressing the shock with the announcement:
The one redeeming factor in this incident is that hopefully others learn from it in the future. Peter Schrager of Fox Sports hopes that the young players in the NFL are learning the lesson:
Still, it is often easy to get lost in the sports aspect of this and forget about the people involved. Stuart Scott discussed the raw emotion on display when the charges were read:
Ian Rapoport relays a quote from Hernandez's lawyer on how the player was doing mentally:
Of course, this is a lot to take in for everyone involved, so it will be a while before anyone is truly "fine."
In a situation as delicate as Aaron Hernandez's, there is no one way fans should feel about it. A lot happened to him from a personal and professional perspective, and there is no doubt that more information will come to light moving forward.
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