Late Patriots tight end Aaron Hernandez’s mercurial behavior as a player and teammate disrupted the team and perhaps foreshadowed troubles off the field that ended with his imprisonment and suicide, according to a revealing, multi-part investigation by The Boston Globe.
Part 3 of The Globe Spotlight’s six-part series quotes former teammates and coaches, those involved in Hernandez’s life as well as text messages between coaches and Hernandez.
They all paint a troubling picture of a man-child whose mood swings, according to The Globe’s reporting, included manically disrupting a walkthrough while wearing flip-flops, threatening to “f— up” teammate Wes Welker and moving star quarterback Tom Brady to confide in Hernandez’s former Florida teammate Tim Tebow that Hernandez was “a lot to handle.”
Under the headline “Running for glory, and for his life,” The Globe recounts the time Brady finally lost patience with one of the NFL’s top tight ends:
Hernandez’s erratic behavior enraged Brady, the legendary team leader, one day when Hernandez was sitting out practice because of an injury. On the sidelines of the non-contact practice, called a “walkthrough,’’ Hernandez kept referring to (coach Bill) Belichick as “daddy,’’ as he had all season.
“He was out at the walkthrough in flip-flops trying to run around,’’ (receiver Brandon) Lloyd said. “He was laughing. He was loud. And Tom keeps it serious in the walkthrough. And Tom says, ‘Shut the f— up. Get the f— out of here.’ ’’
In fact, Lloyd and others recounted more erratic behavior as well as when Welker, a fellow receiver, offered Lloyd this advice: “Walk away” from Hernandez.
“He is looking at me wide-eyed,” Lloyd recalled of Welker, “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.”’
Tuesday’s Part 3 is a segment of the larger series that seeks to get into the issues — on the field and off it — that Hernandez faced in his entire life to build a fuller portrayal of the rise and eventual downfall and death of one of the NFL’s top players.