Aaron Hernandez's ex-teammates reveal his volatile, erratic behaviour
A little over three and a half years ago, Aaron Hernandez was sentenced to life in prison for the murder of his fiancee's sister's boyfriend, Odin Lloyd. It is believed that he killed the 27-year-old because he might have known too much about two previous killings in which Hernandez was a suspect.
Two years later, in April 2017, the former New England Patriots player killed himself in his prison cell after being acquitted of two other homicides which took place in 2012.
Stories about Hernandez, who was only 27 when he died, have been resurfacing recently - and many of them are disturbing, to say the least.
Brandon Lloyd, one of Hernandez's former teammates, has recently spoken out about the footballer's volatile mood swings.
"There would be swings where he’d be the most hyper-masculine, aggressive individual in the room, where he’d be ready to fight somebody in fits of rage," he said. "Or he’d be the most sensitive person in the room, talking about cuddling with his mother. Or he’d ask me, ‘Do you think I’m good enough to play?'"
Lloyd noted that the extremes of these mood swings were particularly disturbing. "It was like he went from this child-like, laughing, disruptive behaviour, and he storms off in a fit of rage."
On more than one occasion, too, other players approached Lloyd in order to discuss Hernandez's worrying states of mind.
Wes Welker, who played for the Patriots for six years, approached Lloyd at one point in order to warn him about some disturbing comments that Hernandez was making.
Recalling the conversation, Lloyd said: "[Welker] is looking at me wide-eyed. And he says, ‘I just want to warn you that [Hernandez] is going to talk about being bathed by his mother. He’s going to have his genitalia out in front of you while you’re sitting on your stool. He’s going to talk about gay sex. Just do your best to ignore it. Even walk away.’"
On another occasion, Hernandez had apparently threatened to "f**k up" Welker.
A brain scan performed on Hernandez after his death revealed that he had chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE), a progressive degenerative disease caused by severe or repeated blows to the head. This may have gone some way towards explaining why the footballer had such extreme mood swings, but - of course - does not excuse his crimes.
Tom Brady, who was once friends with the convicted killer, said after his death: "It’s just very tragic, for everyone involved. To have a teammate who we were all in the huddle with, played some great games with. It’s just a tragic story all the way around. For everybody involved, it’s just a horrible thing. I don’t know what to make of it. It’s just very, very, very sad."
Hernandez was known to be a problematic person long before he joined the Patriots, and his anger was no secret during his time on the team. Whether or not anything could have been done to help him is uncertain, and - even if there was - there's every chance it would have been too little, too late.