Aaron Hernandez went from a lucrative contract playing for a perennial Super Bowl contender to incarcerated and unemployed in less than a year.
Hernandez was released by the Patriots shortly after his arrest by local police in North Attleborough, Mass.,Wednesday. A Massachusetts State Police spokesperson said the charges being brought on Hernandez wouldn't be revealed until his arraignment Wednesday at Attleboro District Court.
Hernandez, who has 175 catches for 1,956 yards and 18 touchdowns since joining the Patriots as a fourth round draft pick in 2010, was said to possibly be facing obstruction of justice charges for his alleged involvement with the murder of 27-year-old Boston resident Odin Lloyd.
Lloyd and Hernandez were seen by surveillance cameras the evening before Odin was shot, execution-style, in the back of the head. The murder is suspected to have taken place not far from Hernandez's mansion in North Attleborough.
What this does to the Patriots pales in comparison to what is happening to Hernandez, but it's still a significant mark against a team known for discipline and avoidance of legal trouble. The Patriots' other big-money tight end, Rob Gronkowski, has had multiple surgeries this offseason for his forearm and back. Between Gronkowski and Hernandez, they account for 362 catches over the last three years in New England.
The Patriots have gone further away from the vertical attack they employed in 2007 when league MVP Tom Brady and wide receivers Randy Moss and Wes Welker smashed league offensive records. Now, with Welker in Denver, Gronkowski likely starting the preseason on the PUP list, the Patriots find themselves perilously thin on receivers.
They signed Danny Amendola this free agency period, and made a bid for Steelers restricted free agent Emmanuel Sanders, but the Steelers matched the offer.