Patriots player Aaron Hernandez mum as police search for clues in man’s death
By Steve Almasy
(CNN) — Patriots tight end Aaron Hernandez is used to throngs of media clamoring to ask him questions, but the NFL star has never had to deal with them camping outside his home.
After reports that the player had been questioned in connection with a homicide less than a mile from his Massachusetts house, that’s what he’s been faced with for the past three days.
A line of reporters waited on the road in front of his house Wednesday, along with neighbors eager for a word from the player.
Nearby, police sifted through the woods for clues that could shed some light on what happened to Odin Lloyd, 27, who was found dead less than a mile from Hernandez’s expansive home in North Attleborough.
Hernandez has yet to say anything publicly. Instead, a statement from his lawyer acknowledged there was an investigation, but didn’t confirm media reports that authorities had questioned his client.
“It has been widely reported in the media that the state police have searched the home of our client, Aaron Hernandez, as part of an ongoing investigation,” attorney Michael Fee said. “Out of respect for that process, neither we nor Aaron will have any comment about the substance of that investigation until it has come to a conclusion.”
His agency, Athletes First, also had no comment Wednesday.
Lloyd died of a gunshot wound, a law enforcement source with knowledge of the investigation said Thursday.
“My son is a wonderful child,” Lloyd’s mother, Ursula Ward, said. “He’s a family guy. He has not done anything to hurt anyone.”
Neighbors told CNN that Hernandez, 23, has been a quiet, respectful neighbor.
Hernandez, who is rehabbing a shoulder injury, returned to the house Wednesday afternoon wearing a gray Patriots sweatshirt and blue sweatpants. He didn’t acknowledge the presence of the media and appeared to spend the rest of the day inside or on the back deck.
On the street between the home and where Lloyd’s body was found, police searched through tall grass.
Nearly a dozen Massachusetts state police officers entered Hernandez’ home Tuesday evening, CNN affiliate WCVB reported.
Patriots spokesman Stacey James said Tuesday the team was aware of the reports, but wouldn’t comment during an ongoing police investigation.
Hernandez has played three seasons for the Patriots, averaging 58 catches per year. He was selected for the Pro Bowl in his second season. ESPN reported he signed last year a contract extension that would pay him $40 million for the 2014-18 seasons.
North Attleborough is about 15 miles from Gillette Stadium, where the Patriots play their home games.
As the mystery was unfolding in Massachusetts, Hernandez and his attorneys were dealing with a lawsuit in Miami in which a man claimed Hernandez shot him after they rode in a car after an argument at a strip club.
According to a court document, Alexander Bradley contends he lost his right eye because of the February incident.
The case was dismissed Monday over an error in the initial paperwork, but Bradley’s attorney told CNN it would be refiled.
CNN’s Mary Snow, Lawrence Crook, and Susan Candiotti contributed to this report.