As outlined in the detailed Rolling Stone piece this week on former Patriots tight end Aaron Hernandez, DJ Hernandez – Aaron’s older brother – became the new father figure in Aaron’s life after their true father, Dennis, passed away in 2006.
Rolling Stone: “Friends say DJ was fiercely protective of his happy-go-lucky lug of a kid brother, and taught him what hard work really looked like. They’d be out running suicides in the dead of summer, and rising early to do squats in the basement.
“Aaron was driven by DJ, who was like his second dad,’ said Brandon Beam. “He really wanted to make Dennis happy.”
DJ Hernandez has been silent regarding his brother since the day police cars first showed up in Aaron’s North Attleboro driveway. He is now a graduate assistant at Iowa State, learning under Bill Belichick’s old pal Kirk Ferentz. Ferentz has said he does not regret hiring DJ as a coach.
“I’ve talked to DJ several times,” Ferentz said in July. “It’s first of all a very highly-visible thing and it’s his brother. If any of us put ourselves in his shoes, you can just imagine the gamut of emotions that’s he’s going through.”
According to HawkCentral.com, DJ was nearly involved in a brawl in Connecticut in late June when a customer at a restaurant mistakenly thought DJ was Aaron.
“I talked to him about it, and as far as I know, he did the proper thing,” Ferentz said, according to the website.
The former UConn quarterback and wide receiver has been active on Twitter since his brother was first linked to the murder of Odin Lloyd on June 17 and the day he was arrested on June 26, mostly tweeting out messages regarding the anticipation of the Iowa State football season and often tweeting out messages of inspiration.
June 17: “Today You Can Do What Others Won’t, So That Tomorrow You Can Do What Others Can’t” #IowaFootball #Passion #SelfMotivation #GetItDone
June 24: RT @DailyWooden: “You can’t live a perfect day without doing something for someone who will never be able to repay you”. #fb
July 6: Cookout 2day with the family. Lookin forward to seeing every1, eating some gd food, & catchin up in this amazing heat. #Family #Luv #Summer
July 14: RT Nobody’s a natural. You work hard to get good and then work to get better. -Paul Coffey
July 18: Nothing Beats Watching Grease On TV & Being Sneezed On By Your Mothers Ugly Dog With An Underbite. #UglyDogs #Wheat #DogSnotsOnMyFace
July 19: RT Things turn out best for the people who make the best of the way things turn out. -John Wooden
July 19: Can’t Wait, Fall Camp Is Just Around The Corner. #CollegeFootball #2013Season #Hawkeyes #TheJourney #HawkeyeFans #Gameday
July 24: Great vaca with the family in CT, I’m excited to see the Hawkeye Football Family in the AM. #IowaFootball #Family #HardWork #2013Season
July 25: I Have Heard Amazing Things About Our Home Atmosphere. Cant Wait To Hear The Noise From The Best Fan Base In The Country. #HawkeyeNation
July 27: Just received this Pic my mother took at the LakeHouse of Me & my love. My Niece Is Beautiful. #Niece #Family #Love pic.twitter.com/KQcmyazUnI
July 31: RT “People who say it cannot be done, should not interrupt those who are doing it.” – George Bernard Shaw
Aug. 21: Watching Connecticut VS Cali little league baseball on ESPN. Rooting for my home state. #CT
Follow Metro Boston sports editor and columnist Matt Burke on Twitter @BurkeMetroBOS