NFL star was terrified he’d be murdered
NFL star-turned-killer Aaron Hernandez was terrified he'd be murdered on the football field - and requested to be traded to a West Coast team during a private sit-down with New England Patriots coach Bill Belichick, according a new report.
The troubled tight end confided in his coach about his concerns in late February 2013, as he grew increasingly paranoid amid an escalating war with his personal assistant-turned-rival Alexander Bradley.
Two accounts of the private meeting inside an upscale hotel room in Indianapolis were published for the first time Thursday (AEST) as part of a six-part investigative series by the Boston Globe.
Hernandez told Belichick that someone might "try to take him out," according to grand jury testimony from Hernandez's agent, Brian Murphy.
Murphy said there were "several occasions where we would be at [Gillette] Stadium or we'd be at a restaurant near the stadium and he was afraid that someone was following him or that someone was going to attack him."
Hernandez feared he'd be shot on the gridiron and told the coach that "he and his family would be a lot safer on the other side of the country," according to Murphy.
"He wanted to talk to coach Belichick about possibly being traded or released so he could go play for one of the West Coast teams," Murphy told the grand jury.
But Belichick told Hernandez, who had six years left on a $41 million contract, it was a no-go.
"We can't trade you; we can't release you for numerous reasons," Belichick said, according to Murphy.
Hernandez recounted the meeting afterwards to Murphy, who was also in Indianapolis that weekend for the NFL Combine for college players ahead of the league's draft.
Belichick's slightly different account of the meeting, as told to state troopers and a North Attleborough police captain in 2013, has also been revealed.
In the interview with the coach, which wasn't recorded, he said Hernandez "was concerned about the safety of his daughter and his girl" because "people might potentially harm" them.
Hernandez, however, "was not concerned about his own safety because he had money," Belichick told the police.
"William Belichick further indicated that Aaron Hernandez expressed interest in relocating, even though he had only recently purchased his home" in North Attleborough, which didn't have adequate security, the police report said.
Belichick told cops he offered to put Hernandez in touch with Mark Briggs, the team's head of security. But Hernandez declined.
Instead, Belichick enlisted a Patriots staffer to help Hernandez find a new place to rent - a $1200-a-month, two-bedroom apartment that became his flophouse, a secret location that only his ex-convict pals knew about.
There's no evidence that Belichick reported Hernandez's concerns to police or the Patriots' security chief, the Globe noted.
Hernandez's paranoia stemmed from a growing beef with Bradley, who later accused him of firing the shots that killed two men outside a nightclub in Boston's South End in 2012.
Hernandez was acquitted of the double murder in April 2017 - while serving life in prison for killing another man, Odin Lloyd. The week after he was cleared of the charges, the 27-year-old committed suicide in his prison cell.
Bradley was trying to extort Hernandez for allegedly shooting him in the face and leaving him for dead in West Palm Beach, Florida, in February 2013 - a shooting for which Hernandez was never charged.
"Since u tried 2 end me i will end u if u dont do what u gotta do," Bradley threatened in a series of texts obtained as part of the evidence.