It’s been nearly a decade since Aaron Hernandez was charged with murder, and one of his former teammates who knew him well has finally shared how he felt upon first hearing the news.
Rob Gronkowski was in the same tight end room as Hernandez — watching film, getting critiqued and gameplanning together, throughout multiple years. And so when Hernandez was suspended by the Patriots and charged with murder in 2013, many were interested in knowing if Gronk had picked up on any warning signs along the way.
But playing for the Patriots entails players being tight-lipped, especially in comments made to the media. Although in that particular situation, Gronk was probably relieved to have not been put in that difficult position. It was an uncomfortable situation for everyone involved, and Gronkowski obviously didn’t want to come off as culpable in any way.
Apparently, now was the appropriate time to finally address what emotions he was feeling after Hernandez’s checkered past was revealed, which he did on the 10 Questions with Kyle Brandt podcast.
“Aaron was a great player,” Gronk began, as transcribed by Yahoo Sports. “He was a great football player. But, I mean, I get questions like that all the time about him and everything. And with everything going on, I was definitely shook when I heard that, when I heard everything about it. Because being his teammate and everything and you just, you really don’t see that. You’re not really looking into players like ‘that’s who they are’ or ‘that’s what they’re doing.’ But just overall I just try to keep it simple and light. He was a great football player but that does not mean anything. You learn from other people, too.”
It sure looked like Gronk wanted to get that weight off his chest for quite some time, and he must’ve felt the platform Brandt provided was the appropriate one on which to do so.