The story of Aaron Hernandez is nothing but a timeline full of missed opportunities and shame.
Once one of the NFL’s premier tight ends, Hernandez’s downward spiral began when he was arrested and charged with the murder of Odin Lloyd.
Hernandez saw success at the University of Florida as a First-Team All American and All SEC. Going into the 2010 draft process, he was considered a hot commodity and a player who could add many new dimensions to an offense.
But alleged involvement in a shooting in Gainesville, Florida as well as marijuana use and failed drug tests caused his draft stock to plummet. Hints at huge character flaws that would be his downfall.
The New England Patriots chose to give Hernandez a look and drafted him with the 113th overall pick in the 2010 NFL Draft. The same draft as fellow tight end Rob Gronkowski.
Hernandez made an impact immediately catching six touchdown passes in 2010 and being named a Pro Bowl alternate in 2011.
Playing the role of tight end, wide receiver, slot receiver, and even running back, Hernandez quickly became one of the most dynamic weapons in the NFL.
As one half of the Gronkowski-Hernandez tight end tandem, they set records for total touchdowns, yards, and receptions for tight ends on one NFL team and was rewarded handsomely with a five-year contract with a $12.5 million bonus. The most ever given too a tight end.
Hernandez was a household name, a tremendously popular player who had the world at his fingertips and the potential to be one of the greatest who ever played the game.
Not only did it hurt how he will be remembered, but also about how one of the greatest organizations in competitive sports could be “duped” and take a chance on someone with that sort of past.
Hernandez was a great football player however, his legacy will always be that he was the man who had it all, but couldn’t let go of the dark side within him.