Is there any way Hernandez returns to the NFL? At least one person thinks so. (USATSI)
Aaron Hernandez will be back in the NFL. At least according to Paul Solotaraff, one of the authors of the Rolling Stone piece that contends, among other things, that Patriots coach Bill Belichick knew Hernandez felt like his life was in danger.

"I think [the case] is not only beatable, [but] I think he will be back in the NFL within three or four years," Rolling Stone contributing editor Paul Solotaroff said on the Doug Gottlieb Show on CBS Sports Radio. "I think they've grossly overcharged him based on the case they're building -- no direct eye witness, no murder weapon [and] no plausible motive."

Hernandez was arrested on June 26 and charged with first-degree murder in the shooting death of Odin Lloyd. The former Patriots tight end, who was rewarded with a five-year, $40 million contract extension 12 months ago, also is reportedly the focus of a grand jury probe into a 2012 double-slaying in Boston.

"His principle nemesis at this point is likely to be the five gun charges levied against him; I think they got him dead to right on most of those," Solotaroff said. "But as crazy as it sounds, this is a guy with no priors. So asking a judge to sentence Hernandez to consecutive prison bids -- rather than contemporary ones -- is going to be a very hard sell for the prosecution. And if in fact he winds up doing three years behind [bars for] those gun charges -- which would be a lot in this case -- he's 26, 27, with very low mileage on those legs of his and a lot of time to heal up. My sources tell me there will be more than one NFL team pursuing him hotly when he walks out of jail in four years."

Solotaroff conceded that Hernandez's current situation is a function of never having to be accountable for his actions, dating back to his days at the University of Florida.

"The problem is that there were never any consequences for Hernandez's conduct," Solotaroff said. "He did the one-game suspension [in college] against a nothing Hawaii team and clearly had done enough to merit at least a half-season suspension. Never got it. Never missed a snap after that one-game suspension."

It seems inconceivable that Hernandez will ever play in the NFL again, and depending on the prosecution's case, there's the very real chance that Hernandez spends the rest of his life behind bars.