Report: Hernandez failed no drug tests with Patriots

Getty Images

Regardless of whether Aaron Hernandez failed one drug test or six drug tests or something in between during his time at Florida, Hernandez reportedly failed no drug tests during his NFL career.

According to Ben Volin of the Boston Globe, zero is the magic number as it relates to the number of times Hernandez tested positive for recreational drugs.

It’s important to understand what that does, and doesn’t, mean.  For players not in the substance-abuse program, testing happens once per year — between April 20 and August 9.  After that test, the player isn’t tested again until the next stretch from April 20 through August 9.

Which means that, once a player has submitted to his annual test for recreational drugs, he can use them with impunity, as long as he engages in no behavior that would place him in the program, such as being arrested for marijuana possession or having a joint fall out of his backpack during a visit to the league office.  (In contrast, testing for PEDs happens on a random basis throughout the year, with one confirmed positive resulting in a four-game suspension.)

There’s no evidence that Hernandez was smoking marijuana or taking any other drugs while playing for the Patriots.  Still, that’s currently the least of his and their problems.

Volin also reports the team had no concerns with Hernandez as a player.  “He showed up to meetings and practices on time, practiced hard, stayed in shape, was very coachable, and starred on the field, scoring 18 touchdowns in three seasons,” Volin writes, citing an unnamed team source.

The only issue, and ultimately it may have been a big one, came from Hernandez’s reluctance to sever ties with his friends in Connecticut.  Per Volin, Hernandez would “tune out and occasionally become angry” when a coach or other team employee tried to raise the issue with him.

That makes the decision to sign Hernandez to a $40 million deal in 2012 with a $12.5 million signing bonus even more surprising.  It’s one thing to take a fourth-round flier on a first-round talent.  But the Pats decided after only two seasons to tie the knot with Hernandez, despite his reluctance to break from folks whom the Patriots apparently believed could get Hernandez in to trouble.

The contact negotiations provided a perfect opportunity to draw bright lines regarding the things Hernandez can and can’t do going forward.  The Patriots routinely dictate terms to players and agents; when it comes to free agency, for example, agents and players know that they can pretty much do nothing without angering (and possibly alienating) Bill Belichick and company.

At a minimum, Hernandez’s contract could have been constructed to provide better (any) protections for the team, with roster bonuses replacing an eight-figure lump sum that Hernandez earned once he signed the deal.  While there remains no plausible or logical way to project murder from Hernandez’s history, the Patriots’ failure to properly guard against a worst-case scenario is stunning, given that they at least had reason to be concerned that something could happen with Hernandez.

Otherwise, they wouldn’t have periodically asked him to quit hanging around with his friends in Connecticut.

59 responses to “Report: Hernandez failed no drug tests with Patriots

  1. What really strikes me as odd is the lack of direction by the Agent….obviously he’s not a baby sitter, but are Agents just yes men who once the client signs for millions just want to collect the check?

  2. “despite his reluctance to break from folks whom the Patriots apparently believed could get Hernandez in to trouble”………

    From everything I’ve read so far, it seems like HE was the one getting himself, and others, into trouble. Not the other way around. He seemed to be the ringleader of the group. He was the alpha.

  3. He failed the being a human test though from the looks of all this mess!!! I want football back so I can forget about this waste of skin…

  4. I agree with some of your concerns and your general bewilderment. A massive mistake to give him that contract and the Patriots failed the bigger and more important tests, the tests of measuring a player’s value to the team. They got this one dead wrong.

  5. Bills fan here. This was a tough call for management to make, and hindsight is always 20-20. Hernandez was talented but troubled. After two strong seasons, I can’t really blame the Pat’s front office for want to believe.

  6. Did they test him for “Stupidity” and the new street drug known as “Bad Idea Genes”?

    I’m thinking that he would have failed those tests.

  7. It’s simple. Don’t smoke it between that period or before you hand in your test for the year. Randy Moss never got busted and look how long it took them to get Ricky Williams on it.

  8. You don’t have to smoke it to sell it, and the business end rather than the recreational end is what usually gets folks killed.

  9. From what we’re beginning to realize, it was not other people getting Hernandez in trouble, but rather Hernandez getting himself and others in trouble.

  10. To get a player to sign an extension of his rookie contract instead of waiting to hit free agency is usually a money saving deal for the team in exchange for early security for the player. Since Hernandez didn’t even want to talk about whom he did or didn’t hang out with, it might have been hard to get him to sign if the Pats wanted to put in extra protections. He was a proven player with a Pro Bowl pedigree, not TMathieu coming out of college.

  11. Really? If anyone thinks that the NFL has a serious drug testing program. they’re delirious. Especially pertaining to steroids. It’s called the wink, wink, nod, nod drug test. If some private autonomous agency conducted these tests we’d see that the vast majority of these players are on some sort of steroid.

  12. Too bad…if he kept smoking weed, maybe he would’ve been mellowed out and not feel the need to shoot people.

  13. Well, I’m sure this is comforting to the Lloyd family knowing their son’s probable killer wasn’t likely high at the time…

  14. It’s odd to see people say that they wanted Hernandez to distance himself from unsavory, old friend from Connecticut

    This guy seems like such a psychopath that maybe said friends should have been distancing themselves from him…

    Just sayin’

  15. The police found cocaine in the flop house. Being that the testing is limited to a certain time of the year and known to the player, they can’t say he was not using as a member of the team. This of course applies to ALL players. So why release this information now. The Patriots not giving him certain bonus money earned is not clear to me. But it would make sense if the contract stipulates that bonus money will be held back for if the player is involved in criminal activity. It looks bleak, but since AH has not been convicted of any criminal activity, shouldn’t that money gone into escrow instead until his legal situation is fully resolved. Just asking.

  16. In other news about ex-football players that no longer have anything to do with today’s NFL, Bernie Kosar finished a Sudoku puzzle and Dan Fouts stubbed his toe at a barbecue. Wow, exciting. Now let’s get back to actual football.

  17. The perfect analogy for this whole debacle would be the recent major fight from last night for those who know what I’m talking about. Trying not to be specific for a spoiler alert, but last evening was a very profound sports-commentary moment and one of the most meaningful statements I have heard in a long time, and the premise of the concept can be applied to any competitive or professional situation.

    It was the post-fight analysis of Joe Rogan after the main event. He had some very powerful words to sum up what happened and to any young sports competitor I think it would be highly inspirational and an extremely valuable lesson to learn. I recommend you show this fight to your kids and have them listen to Joe’s analysis at the end and it will open their eyes and could do a lot of good. The Patriots and their mistake with Hernandez has lots of fascinating parallels to this lesson in what it takes to be a true professional and champion.

    Also watch closely the dynamics and words and compare the 2 completely opposite approaches that each corner/fighter makes after Round 1. Analyze everything that was different for each side and what the coach did differently; I assure you it will be a fascinating and rewarding exercise. See if you can then predict what will happen next as your challenge. It’s interesting to take a close look at how one professional focuses on doing things the textbook way, while the other has chosen to burn the textbook and abandon all professionalism in strategy. The results are not surprising.

  18. So Hernandez didn’t fail any drug tests. Was always on time to meetings and practices, was a coachable player, never arrested or in trouble with the law as a Patriot yet “the Patriots’ failure to properly guard against a worst-case scenario is stunning” You have to be kidding me, right? I’m sure Florio has some bad apples as friends, does that make him suspicious of doing something wrong? Besides writing bad articles? Another joke of an article.

  19. Clearly Hernandez stood to benefit from some sort of performance enhancing drug…every criminal is embarrassed by his sloppiness.

  20. Hernandez will be in jail till he dies. HE will have plenty of time to figure out why. I am sure his lawyers will prepare a strong defense but I think the trial will be a formality, he is a murderer and he got caught.

    I am curious to know to know if he had anything to do with Boston Murders last year or the shooting in Gainesville when he was 17. If he had something to do with the other crimes, I think it would effect the public personality we saw in him as a football player but what do I know. He obviously fooled his coaches and teammates. Don’t know about the Fiancee?

  21. Dam, there goes one excuse for his actions out the window…glad he had a clear mind when he decides to shoot people!

  22. So he failed no drug test with the Patriots. Is the murder penalty less without traces of drugs in his blood?

    Bonnie and Clyde never failed a driving test. That was their SOP of robbing banks.

  23. So…That just means that he knew exactly what he was doing when he was out killing people and stuff.

  24. This would have never happened at the Ravens with Harbaugh and especially Ray Lewis. Different franchises just have different ways to handle it. In Baltimore he would have never been drafted. In New England, they did a Joe Paterno and looked the other way.

  25. randolph32 says:
    Jul 7, 2013 1:35 PM
    What really strikes me as odd is the lack of direction by the Agent….obviously he’s not a baby sitter, but are Agents just yes men who once the client signs for millions just want to collect the check?
    In what other occupation is the employee (agent) expected to provide direction for the employer (player)? The player employs the agent and can fire him at any time. At my job the most I can do as far as leading a major initiative is provide my expert opinion and reasons behind why the initiative should be done a certain way. Ultimately it is up to my boss to make the final call.

  26. I blame the Pats for not protecting themselves but in their defense 3 counts of murder weren’t lurking over the horizon. I doubt there are many players in the NFL that will take it to this extreme!!!

  27. Yes, he was a model Patriot before this, but when he got arrested they cut him immediately. Aaron Hernandez is exactly what they thought he was, which explains the cover up for several years.

  28. I’m still not sure if he did it or not but he’s learned the hard way about the people you keep around you and what happens.

    Pretty sure he’s in the cell thinking like, “damn”.

  29. He was obviously very angered by any suggestion to move away from his buddies..

    Do not blame the agent.

    Agent: “Aaron I think it is the right thing to move on from your high school buddies.”

    Aaron: “Shut your fricken mouth. What I do off the field is none of your concern. Do I need a new agent?”

    Agent: “Ok, OK.. calm down… You know I love you…. Can I get you something… Hot dog? Pepsi? Chicklets? Bubble gum?

  30. Sure swagger, the Ravens would never draft problem chidren like SKindle or JSmith, a top 10 talent who slid to the Ravens at 27 because of charachter issues. Nor would they sign someone like RMcClain 11 days before he was arrested… for the 4th time. Nothing but choirbors, right? Hypocrite.

  31. Mmmm… Maybe I should develop a test that will determine who is going to be a psychopathic killer. Oh wait, that’s impossible. The Patriots are doing it right. Turn the page and distance yourself from this nut job.

  32. Well, I guess that we’re left with concussions to blame for his misdeeds…

  33. This has what to do with what?

    Since he didn’t have any failed tests, can we now say that mary jane has nothing to do with violent crime? He he had failed a test, and was convicted down the road, would the headline read “Drugs possibly cause for Hernandez killings”?

    The attempt to draw a line between these two issues baffles me.

  34. When the contract was signed, Hernandez had leverage. he had done nothing wrong, he had done everything right on the field and in practice, and if he kept doing that, he was going to get a huge contract from somebody else. They did the deal early to get a discount. Lacing it with conditions would have seemed discriminatory based on his known work ethic and results. Placing conditions on a guy for being less social and not dropping his friends would not have sold well in the press. I can imagine the Pats would have been roasted for embarrassing a Pro Bowl level player who had apparently done nothing wrong. The issue with friends is one that all teams face when drafting a local kid. How many NFL players have friends that are ne’er do well’s that their employer would prefer they distance themselves from?

    Let’s keep in mind they paid Hernandez BEFORE they knew he got in trouble, NOT AFTER, ala Ray Ray. Facts are facts. Ray pleaded guilty to obstruction of justice in a murder investigation, and could not produce the very suit he was wearing. At the very least he helped SOMEONE or some group get away with murder and hid the evidence that may have incriminated that certain someone or group, or perhaps himself. Yet he went on to many new multi-million dollar contracts, after the fact.

    I’d lay off the Patriots for not being psychic. It’s a difficult situation. It’s less about predicting the future, and more about how you respond when you know something for a fact.

  35. It’s rather ironic that this article states that according to reports Hernandez refused to severe ties with “questionable” friends, as if to state these friends led him to commit murder. Well seeing how he is being charged with murder for killing his so called friend, it seems maybe someone should have let his “friends” know the AHern might be a questionable person.

  36. Murder is enough, I think. (Knowing the NFL I’m not so sure, depends on what team). Alas, I don’t think we need an unnamed source telling us he scored 18 touchdowns in his three year career. We can figure that out on our own. Great reporting as usual.

  37. That just means he studied hard for his tests.

    Give me a joint and a jar of pickles and I will pass any drug test you throw at me.

  38. Well, at least the Patriots believe Aaron is innocent:

    1. All the Pats teammates have come forth and said there is no way Aaron could have done it;

    2. The team wants everyone to keep his shirts as they know he will be cleared of all charges (per mommy) and they welcome him back.

    If it is not clear that they know he is innocent, I don’t know what is

Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to leave a comment. Not a member? Register now!

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.