Former Patriots tight end Aaron Hernandez has been dead for nearly a year. He’s been out of the NFL since 2012, was put away for life in 2015, and realistically, the time to litigate Aaron Hernandez has long since passed. The Philadelphia Inquirer’s Bob Brookover disagrees.
Seeing as the Eagles play the Patriots in the Super Bowl this weekend, Brookover determined the best angle for this week would be questioning whether the Patriots, who have been punished for breaking NFL rules, would also do the same to get the most out of Hernandez, I think?
[T]he one subject [the Patriots] want to skirt more than any other is the violent and tragic career of the late Aaron Hernandez. Perhaps that’s because Hernandez’s draft selection, despite bright red flags everywhere, is a reflection of how winning means everything to the Patriots and no cost is too high.
Ah. He goes on to say:
This is the Patriots’ fourth Super Bowl appearance in seven years with the first coming in 2011 when they lost, 21-17, to the New York Giants in Indianapolis. Hernandez, a fourth-round draft pick in 2010, was the Patriots’ leading receiver in that game with eight catches for 67 yards and a touchdown. It would be his last Super Bowl and this will be the Patriots’ first Super Bowl since Hernandez committed suicide by hanging himself with a bed sheet inside a Massachusetts prison cell in April.
Honestly, the column doesn’t deliver on its headline. It’s a rehashing of Hernandez’s Wikipedia page and a bunch of suggestive questions that don’t go anywhere. Brookover doesn’t even really have a theory. Maybe he thinks this line is supposed to arouse suspicion in the reader: “At One Patriot Way in Foxborough, Mass., it is as if Aaron Hernandez never existed.” It’d be pretty weird if the Patriots were still talking about Hernandez!
Brookover also waggles his eyebrows at CTE and brain damage with no real conclusions, but the real gold is in the kicker:
Once he no longer could help them, it became a sin to even speak the name Aaron Hernandez. Maybe it’s not a coincidence that the NFL team that has had the most success in this century also had to deal with the league’s greatest tragedy.
This column exists as an argument to get rid of the extra week before the Super Bowl.
Update (4:21 p.m. ET): The headline on the digital form of Brookover’s column has been changed to this: