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Former Patriots star Rob Gronkowski finally speaks out on chilling Aaron Hernandez saga

Patriots, Rob Gronkowski, Aaron Hernandez

After nearly a decade of media silence on the subject, Tampa Bay tight end and former New England Patriots star Rob Gronkowski offered his first public words on former teammate Aaron Hernandez. His thoughts were shared on a recent episode of Kyle Brandt’s podcast, 10 Questions with Kyle Brandt:

Gronkowski and Hernandez were Patriots teammates and co-starting tight ends for the entirety of Hernandez’s three-year career. They were the core of what many consider to be a revolutionary squad on offense due to a  unique two TE lineup, which would earn the pair a trip to Super Bowl XLVI and Hernandez a hefty five-year deal with New England.

That second phase of Hernandez’s career would fail to materialize. In June of 2013, he was charged with, and eventually convicted of the murder of Odin Lloyd. His arrest and subsequent suspension from the team would lead to a prison sentence and numerous other charges from his checkered past, dating all the way back to 2007.

As a co-starter with the Patriots that played the same position as Hernandez to such success, Gronkowski’s silence on the saga is notable: he famously walked out of a CBS interview that took place soon after Hernandez’s arrest and refused to share his thoughts after both Hernandez’s guilty verdict in 2015, and his death in 2017.

“Aaron was a great player…I was definitely shook when I heard that”.

Hernandez’s case is the subject of a recent Netflix documentary series that details the case on all sides. Hernandez’s violent behavior has been linked to CTE and has become a central example in the NFL community’s ongoing debate regarding long-term head injuries linked to behavioral issues in both current and former players.

Hernandez took his own life on April 19, 2017, in his prison cell. He was 27 years old.