The bad news continues to pile up for Aaron Hernandez, as the former tight end of the New England Patriots cleared waivers without being claimed by another NFL team, according to ESPN's Adam Schefter.
No surprise but official: Aaron Hernandez cleared waivers.— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) June 27, 2013
On Wednesday, Hernandez was arrested (via Bill Pennington of The New York Times) and charged with murder (via Wesley Lowery of the Boston Globe).
#Hernandez charged with murder and five gun-related charges. Pleas not guilty.— Wesley Lowery (@WesleyLowery) June 26, 2013
He was promptly released by the Patriots and was subject to waivers, since he has not yet completed four years of NFL service (via the team's official Twitter account).
The New England #Patriots have released Aaron Hernandez.— New England Patriots (@Patriots) June 26, 2013
Not surprisingly, no NFL teams claimed him, clearly adverse to aligning themselves with a player now facing a lengthy court battle in regards to his charge of the murder of Odin Lloyd. Obviously, NFL teams would rather wait to see how Hernandez's legal issues resolve before making any financial commitment.
And with no bail set for Hernandez, it's not as though he could have joined a team's offseason program anyway (via SportsCenter on Twitter):
UPDATE: Aaron Hernandez will be held without bail on murder charge.— SportsCenter (@SportsCenter) June 26, 2013
If Hernandez is eventually found innocent he'll garner plenty of interest around the NFL. In three seasons, he's accumulated 175 receptions for 1,956 yards and 18 touchdowns. He made a name for himself as one of the league's most versaitle offensive weapons at any position, possessing a rare blend of size and speed.
However, it's now very possible he'll never play another snap in the NFL.
Behind Rob Gronkowski, the Patriots will now turn to Jake Ballard as the No. 2 tight end. Speculation around the possibility of Tim Tebow making the switch to tight end will likely persist as well, though the Patriots may turn to free agency to fill the void left by Hernandez after his release.