Former Patriots star Aaron Hernandez, now of , has remained a controversial figure in NFL news, largely thanks to his attorney . Hernandez's name surfaced again this week when former Jets linebacker Bart Scott claimed the New York defense used to tease Hernandez on the field about a missing body.
It's a chilling tale of on-field, um, banter that Scott recalled during "The Afternoon Drive with Carlin, Maggie and Bart" on WFAN, considering Scott and the Jets were not actually aware Hernandez had murdered someone and/or would murder someone.
"Let me tell you what the running joke was with Hernandez -- as players, we used to always mess with Hernandez when we were on the field and say, 'Hey man, I heard they found the body.' We thought it was a joke, because we knew something had happened in Florida," Scott said. "So the whole running joke was 'I heard they found the body.' We all knew he was a bad guy. There had been stories floating with this guy for years."
Part of that tale involved Scott saying the Patriots "knew he was a bad guy." Scott claims this was not during the stretch when Hernandez actually committed the crimes, but rather when "he was playing and thriving."
"This was years -- this was when he was playing and thriving. No, we used to say, 'We heard he found the body.' It was a running joke," Scott said. "We didn't think it was serious. We knew he was a bad guy."
Scott also said the Jets defenders knew Hernandez was in a gang, which is a large reason why, he believes, Hernandez struggled to remove himself from the off-the-field problems he dealt with while in New England, not far from his hometown of Bristol, Conn.
"We knew he was in a gang. A lot of players are in gangs. A lot of us grow up in gangs, and what happens is it's hard to remove yourself," Scott explained. "But what happens is you're removed by distance. The people in my neighborhood are 10 hours away. The hardest thing for Hernandez is they are right there. You can't mature and distance yourself from them because they were there Day 1. Day 1 they're at the party, so you're not hanging with your teammates, you're hanging with them."
Hernandez played just three years in the NFL after being drafted by the Patriots in the fourth round of the 2010 NFL Draft. He and Rob Gronkowski entered into the New England system at the same time and appeared to have reinvented the New England offense, making them a dangerous unit with a pair of tight ends who were largely uncoverable.
Everything changed in June of 2013, withthe body of Odin Lloyd was found within four miles of Hernandez's house. and before the end of the month, Hernandez was arrested by authorities, and .
It was wild at the time -- a successful NFL player charged with a murder, one he was later convicted of as well -- but it turns out there may have been more warning signs than we knew about. Certainly Scott and the Jets' comments to Hernandez could have served some kind of notice.