Some of Aaron Hernandez’s former New England Patriots teammates described his behavior during his last season with the team as erratic and troubling, according to an investigative series by The Boston Globe.
“There would be swings where he’d be the most hyper-masculine, aggressive individual in the room, where he’d be ready to fight somebody in fits of rage,” said former Patriots receiver Brandon Lloyd. “Or he’d be the most sensitive person in the room, talking about cuddling with his mother. Or he’d ask me, ‘Do you think I’m good enough to play?’ ”
The comments by Lloyd and others — as well as text messages obtained by The Globe’s Spotlight team for a six-part series — are the first extensive views from teammates of the troubled Hernandez in his last season with the team in 2012. Hernandez would eventually be convicted for the June 2013 murder of Odin Lloyd. He committed suicide in prison last year.
Lloyd recalled that Hernandez said he would “f— up” fellow receiver Wes Welker during that 2012 training camp, after Welker had teased the tight end about needing help in the film room, according to the report.
That led to Welker offering a warning to Lloyd.
“He is looking at me wide-eyed,” Lloyd recalled of Welker, “and he says, ‘I just want to warn you that (Hernandez) is going to talk about being bathed by his mother. He’s going to have his genitalia out in front of you while you’re sitting on your stool. He’s going to talk about gay sex. Just do your best to ignore it. Even walk away.’ ”
The report also notes that star quarterback Tom Brady had once told Tim Tebow that he was trying to watch over Tebow’s former Florida teammates Hernandez and linebacker Brandon Spikes, but that they were “a lot to handle”.
Lloyd gave an example of one time when Brady had had enough of Hernandez, who was causing a disruption during a walkthrough practice.
“(Hernandez) was out at the walkthrough in flip-flops trying to run around,” Lloyd said. “He was laughing. He was loud. And Tom keeps it serious in the walkthrough. And Tom says, ‘Shut the f— up. Get the f— out of here.’ ”
Lloyd said the change in Hernandez’s mood was instantaneous.
“It was like he went from this child-like, laughing, disruptive behavior,” Lloyd said, “and he storms off in a fit of rage.”
Former Patriots linebacker Dane Fletcher, who like Hernandez was a rookie with the team in 2010, said he and Hernandez had a volatile relationship from the start, exchanging both insults and punches.
Fletcher told The Globe that one day Hernandez confronted him in the locker room, laughing at him “like the Joker in Batman” and reminding Fletcher how much he disliked him.
Fletcher cursed at Hernandez, who responded by saying, “But here’s the deal. I respect you.” Fletcher said, “I started laughing because for once he was the bigger man than me. That broke the shield between us.”
But Fletcher also said it was apparent to him and other players that the presence of Hernandez’s ex-convict friends from Bristol, Connecticut, was a red flag.
“I knew they were trouble,” Fletcher said. “Everybody kind of did.”