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Untapped Potential: Aaron Hernandez


Recap Last Time

Last time on Untapped Potential we dove into the career of Garret Sparks and the potential he wasn’t able to reach of what could have been a lengthy career. Today, we are going over one of the most dynamic players at the tight end position the New England Patriots have had in team history, Aaron Hernandez.

Early Life

Aaron Hernandez was born on November 6, 1989 in Bristol, Connecticut. In addition to football, he played basketball at Bristol Central and AAU Basketball. His AAU coach was the infamous Geno Auriemma of the UCONN women’s basketball team.

College Ball

Hernandez played three seasons at the University of Florida. As a Gator, he had 1,382 receiving yards, 12 touchdowns, and 1,398 yards from scrimmage. He played from 2007 to 2009 before entering the NFL Draft. 2009 was his breakout year as he had 850 receiving yards and five touchdowns. He was also named to the Florida athletics Hall of Fame. He also won the National Championship in 2009 as he led the Gators in receiving yards with 57 on five receptions. That Gators national championship featured tons of NFL talent including Tim Tebow, Hernandez, Percy Harvin, the Pouncey twins and many more. That team is very deserving of a “ESPN 30 for 30” documentary one day.

NFL Draft

Hernandez decided to forgo his senior year at Florida and enter the 2010 NFL Draft. He then became a fourth round pick selected 113th overall by the New England Patriots.

2010-2011 (Rookie Year)

Hernandez started off his rookie season, starting seven of the 14 games he played in. He logged 563 receiving yards and seven touchdowns. He also had three rushes for 47 yards.

2011-2012 (Second Year)

In his second season he started 12 of the 14 games he played in. He had a career year as he had 79 catches for 910 receiving yards and seven touchdowns. Also, he had five rushes for 45 yards. In his lone Super Bowl appearance, he lost to the New York Giants.

2012-2013 (Last Season)

This was Hernandez’s last season as he started all ten games he played in. He had 483 receiving yards and five touchdowns. Hernandez also had one rush for five yards.

Why Did His Career End So Early?

Hernandez was suspected of the murder of Odin Lloyd who was dating his fiancée’s sister during the 2013 offseason. Lloyd was murdered on June 17, 2013. The Patriots once found out Hernandez was guilty, the team released him on June 26, 2013.

Killer Inside: The Mind of Aaron Hernandez Documentary

On January 15, 2020, Netflix released a documentary about Aaron Hernandez called “Killer Inside: The Mind of Aaron Hernandez.” The documentary detailed his early life in addition to the trial and aftermath of it when he was in jail. Family, friends, and teammates were also involved in the documentary. Hernandez was known to struggle with mental health at times and even dealt with CTE which will be mentioned later.

Greatest Tight End Duo of All-Time?

Also drafted earlier in the 2010 draft, was tight end Rob Gronkowski. Gronkowski is a five-time Pro Bowler and four-time Super Bowl Champion. Each year as teammates with Hernandez, Gronkowski put up double digit touchdowns including a league leading 17 in 2011. If the teammates played together a little longer, they could have easily been the greatest tight end duo of all-time.

Legacy Tarnished

Hernandez’s All-American brick at the University of Florida was removed as well as pictures of him in the locker room. He was also removed from the Madden football video game. After he was arrested in 2013, the New England Patriots allowed anyone with a Hernandez jersey to go to Gillette Stadium and swap jerseys for free.

Aaron Hernandez CTE Case

CTE otherwise known as Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy is one of the worst injuries one can suffer due to the impact it has on the brain. Some of the symptoms include memory and thinking problems, confusion, personality changes, and erratic behavior including aggression, depression, and suicidal thoughts. Doctors who studied Hernandez’s brain once he passed discovered he had the worst case of CTE ever found at Stage III.

What Happened to Aaron Hernandez

Hernandez hung himself on April 19, 2017. He left behind his fiancée who he had a daughter with in addition to his friends and family.

What His Family Is Doing Now

Hernandez’s fiancée Shayanna Jenkins now lives in Rhode Island and had a second child with former boxer and actor Dino Guilmette. His daughter Avielle was five years old when her father passed away and is now 11 and a half years old. His mother Terri Hernandez lives in Farmington, Connecticut working on projects raising money for National Suicide Prevention.


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