Former Patriots Lineman Was Never a Big Fan of Hernandez
Dayton, Ohio — I’ve known Matt Light a long time and I have never — and I mean NEVER — heard him speak ill of another player, not even a defensive linemen like the New York Giants’ Osi Umenyiora with whom his classic battles in the NFL trenches have included some extra-curriculars after the whistle.
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 recently retired Light — who won three Super Bowl rings and went to four Pro Bowls in his 11-year career — insinuated that Hernandez, with whom he played alongside for two years, has always had his own agenda — and it wasn’t a good one.
Light now sounds prophetic.
On Wednesday morning, Hernandez was arrested and placed in handcuffs at his North Attleborough home on the Rhode Island state line and led to a police cruiser by Massachusetts State Police and local officers.
He’s now been charged with the murder of 27-year old Odin Lloyd, a semipro football player and an associate, whose body was found a half mile from Hernandez’ home.
According to authorities Hernandez had been with Lloyd the day he was found dead and they said there are text messages between the two. Before police arrived for the first of their two searches in the past week, Hernandez had his place scoured by a professional cleaning service. Authorities found the house’s video surveillance tapes had been destroyed and Hernandez’s cell phone had been smashed.
As this case unfolds, Hernandez is also facing a civil lawsuit from a guy who claims he lost the sight in his right eye after the tight end shot him in the face as they left a Miami strip club in February.
Sports Illustrated also has discovered Hernandez had a long history of trouble while playing at the University of Florida for Urban Meyer, now the Ohio State coach.
SI.com found that Hernandez had failed numerous drug tests while in college and the tight end admitted as much to NFL teams before the 2010 NFL draft. The Connecticut-raised Hernandez was also said to have many gang ties and through the years he had had some other police-investigated incidents involving guns.
Interestingly, Hernandez was suspended for only one game during his entire Florida Gator career.
Although he was eventually named the best tight end in the college game and initially projected to be a first-round draft pick, he fell to the fourth round.
At the time the Patriots were questioned in some quarters for taking on a guy like Hernandez, who had so much baggage. Although he was a good player, others have said he brought some of his unsavory associates around the Patriots, who, nevertheless, signed him to a long-term deal worth $40 million last summer.
After Wednesday’s arrest, New England finally released Hernandez.
Just as Matt Light discovered a while back, the Patriots also no longer believe in what Aaron Hernandez stands for.