The Rise and Fall of Aaron Hernandez

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Nov. 22, 2012; East Rutherford, NJ, USA; New England Patriots tight end

Aaron Hernandez

(81) runs with the ball against the New York Jets during the first half on Thanksgiving at MetLife Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Debby Wong-USA TODAY Sports

Aaron Hernandez is at the center of one of the more shocking NFL player arrests in recent memory.  Being accused of murder certainly is nothing to be taken lightly, and Hernandez seems to be a suspect in several other crimes as well.  This begs the question, how does an aspiring athlete, new father and seemingly happy man get to the point where he is being arrested on national television and later charged with murder?

A John Mackey Award winner in 2009, Hernandez was no doubt one of the best tight ends entering the 2010 NFL Draft.  Hernandez, however, fell to the 4th round, and was drafted 113th overall by New England, who had drafted Rob Gronkowski at tight end the day before.  Why does one of the best tight ends in the 2010 draft fall to the 4th round?  Many scouts cited Hernandez’s multiple failed drug tests, and his name coming up in police investigations as to why he fell so far.  Either way, Robert Kraft and the Patriots were confident they could use a 4th to get him with minimal risk involved. 

Most Cincinnati Bengals fans know, the 2010 season was one with very high expectations, and the road to the Super Bowl went through New England in week one.  Aaron Hernandez had other plans and came out strong in his rookie debut.  Hernandez proved to be a versatile player, and even took some handoffs out of the backfield.  As a complimentary tight end, Hernandez and Gronkowski have proven to be arguably the most prolific tight end combination in the league.  So successful, in fact, other teams, like the Bengals, seem to be trying to emulate the success in New England.

Aaron Hernandez has been so successful with the Patriots that they felt comfortable enough to sign Hernandez to a contract extension through 2018, worth up to $40 million, and $12.5 million guaranteed.  All seemed to be going well with the former 4th round pick, now signed to a long-term deal.

Hernandez was right where he would want to be with his professional career.