With offseason workouts completed for most teams, the calendar has reached the point at which players have free time — and coaches and General Managers spend most of their free time worrying about getting a phone call regarding a player who has found trouble.
At some point in the past day or so, Patriots coach Bill Belichick received one of those calls. But instead of hearing about the latest run-of-the-mill off-field entanglement, Belichick was told that tight end Aaron Hernandez faces police questioning after a body of an “associate” was found in the vicinity of a rental car connected to Hernandez.
All reports continue to indicate that Hernandez is not a suspect. Still, Hernandez has consulted with a lawyer, per SI.com. According to ABC, Hernandez received at his North Attleboro home on Tuesday at 7:30 p.m. a hand-delivered package from the “prominent law firm Ropes and Gray,” an international corporate firm with 11 offices worldwide.
Police reportedly spent hours inside Hernandez’s residence on Tuesday, ultimately searching the structure and emerging with a box.
Two men who tried to leave during the search reportedly were detained. The car in which they planned to leave also was searched.
Hernandez’s agents have declined comment. The Patriots issued the standard perfunctory comment, acknowledging the reports but declining to address the situation in deference to the investigation.
It’s unclear whether and to what extent Hernandez has been questioned by police. ABC has reported that he was initially uncooperative, which implies that at some point he has decided to cooperate. (The Boston Herald disputes the ABC report, using the dismissive “Web reports” label.)
Many possible explanations exist. It seems implausible that Hernandez had any role in the killing of the “associate,” given the presence of the rental car tied to Hernandez in the vicinity of the body. At a minimum, the car would have been removed.
Also, there was no apparent effort to conceal the body, which was found by a jogger in an industrial park roughly a mile from Hernandez’s home on Monday.