More Aaron Hernandez: Urban Meyer Kind Of Speaks Out, Two-Day Jersey Swap Event
After remaining silent for the last few weeks, on Saturday Ohio State coach Urban Meyer finally spoke about his former player tight end Aaron Hernandez. They were both at the University of Florida from 2007 to 2009.
Now don’t get too excited; Meyer didn’t say much about Hernandez, who has been charged with the first-degree murder of Odin Lloyd. This took place near Hernandez’s North Attleborough, Mass. home on June 17 after Hernandez had allegedly arranged for Lloyd to be shot after a nightclub incident.
As to who actually shot Lloyd, it hasn’t been disclosed.
After Hernandez’s arrest, the red flags about him at the 2010 NFL Scouting Combine and subsequent NFL draft came out. Then his college history became scrutinized and a troublesome past came further to light.
And this means questions swirled about what his former coach Meyer knew and had experienced with Hernandez while at Florida. One now highly-publicized story includes a 2007 incident that had a 17-year-old Hernandez busting the ear drum of a Gainesville, Fla. bar manager.
A second story involves the potential involvement by Hernandez in a shooting that same year.
According to the Columbus Dispatch, Meyer, who was with Hernandez for three seasons, chose to speak out now after believing there had been inaccurate reports about how the team had dealt with the player during his time at the school–possibly from the two aforementioned incidences.
Meyer first texted via the Columbus Dispatch‘s Tim Meyer, “Prayers and thoughts are with the family and friends of the victim. Relating or blaming these serious charges to the University of Florida, myself or our staff is wrong and irresponsible.”
He further texted, “I just received an email from a friend where there is an accusation of multiple failed drug tests by Hernandez covered up by University of Florida or the coaching staff. This is absolutely not true. Hernandez was held to the same drug testing policy as every other player.”
Some had thought Meyer had “enabled” Hernandez at Florida. The coach addressed this in another text, “He was an athlete at Florida 4 -7 yrs ago and there are some comments being made that are not correct. Our staff, myself and our families worked very hard to mentor and guide him.”
So what did this entail? Meyer supposedly brought Hernandez to bible studies held at his home and tried to assist the player in dealing with his father’s unexpected death back in 2006, reported ESPN. After many NFL teams steered clear of Hernandez in the 2010 draft, when Patriots coach Bill Belichick came around, Meyer stuck up for the player.
Whether Meyer says anything additional about Hernandez remains to be seen. The coach will likely instead look ahead to his second season at Ohio State as expectations are high for his team in 2013.
The Buckeyes sit at 13/2 to win the 2013-2014 BCS National Championship while the team’s quarterback Braxton Miller has the same odds to win the 2013 Heisman Trophy.
Meanwhile, the New England Patriots are still trying to distance themselves as much and as fast as possible from their former tight end.
Also on Saturday, the team allowed fans to trade in their Hernandez jerseys for a different and current Patriot player. The two-day event, held at the Gillette Stadium pro shop, will run through Sunday evening.
The swap has been a success: by late Saturday afternoon, 1,200 jerseys had already been traded.
Who did fans trade their jerseys for? No surprise here but this included quarterback Tom Brady, nose tackle Vince Wilfork, running back Stevan Ridley and defensive end Chandler Jones, according to a team tweet.
And yes, even current tight end Rob Gronkowski and new teammate Tim Tebow jerseys also got some attention.
Looking ahead to the 2013 season, the Patriots sit at 11 1/2 o/u for the 2013 regular season win total with +900 for a 2014 Super Bowl victory.