The Patriots brought in Tim Tebow exactly one week before Odin Lloyd’s body was found by a jogger in an industrial park in North Attleboro, Mass.
The question being asked by many today is ‘was part of the motivation for the Patriots signing Tebow linked to the team believing that he could help straighten out Aaron Hernandez?’ And if that’s the case, ‘how much did the Patriots know of Hernandez’s troubled past before Lloyd’s death?’
We found out Tuesday that Tebow had played the role of Hernandez’s babysitter before, having broken up a bar fight in which Hernandez allegedly broke a bouncer's eardrum with his fist. Hernandez and Tebow were said to be “close” throughout college after Tebow hosted Hernandez on his official visit to the University of Florida.
The Boston Globe reported that Lloyd may have known information regarding a 2012 double homicide and that is why he was targeted. Was Hernandez fearful of Lloyd ratting him out? Hernandez was reportedly upset that Lloyd was “talking to the wrong people” in the days before the murder.
The Patriots pride themselves on avoiding distractions and it was more than a bit curious that they brought one of the league’s biggest distractions in Tebow to camp at the time that they did. Tebow wasn’t getting a sniff from any of the other 31 teams in the league at the time. Could it be that Josh McDaniels just really, REALLY likes the kid? Sure. But why didn’t the Pats sign him in late April? Or May? Or even a week before camp to avoid the circus on Day 1 of minicamp?
We will never know the extent to which the Patriots knew of Hernandez’s issues dating back to his days as a youth in Bristol, Conn. to his days as a Gator at Florida and right up until Lloyd’s death. The Patriots will keep their knowledge, if any, a secret, just like they do an injury to a third string offensive lineman.
The Patriots, of course, received a decent amount of applause when they released Hernandez less than two hours after he was arrested last week. But what if they knew more in the days leading up to Lloyd’s death? What if they knew something about the 2012 incident well beforehand? Shouldn’t they have released Hernandez the second a police car drove up his driveway on June 17? Or even before that?
Here's the thing: the Patriots have lost the right to NOT be questioned. The media (and fans, for that matter) should be entitled to more information coming from Bill Belichick’s crew going forward on minute matters and certainly matters regarding the murder of a human being. In other words, media and fans should always, always be asking questions. The Aaron Hernandez situation has taught us a lot of things, one being that there are always more questions to be asked and there are always more questions to be answered.
Follow Metro Boston sports editor and columnist Matt Burke on Twitter @BurkeMetroBOS