In just 24 hours the Aaron Hernandez situation has gone from bad, to slightly better, to potentially worse, to now potentially MUCH worse. While initially the news yesterday that his house was being searched and he was being questioned in connection with the homicide of a man whose body was found near Hernandez' North Attleboro home was bad enough, Patriots fans grew even more concerned when they turned on their televisions last night to local news and heard police did in fact find something at the Hernandez home that they brought out with them at the end of the search. News reports went on to tell us that while he was not actively being investigated as a suspect, he had not been ruled out as one yet either. As a Patriots fan, you had the chance to take a deep breath and say "this might be okay" and hope for the best...until today.
As reported by Mike Garafalo in USA Today, on June 13, a Connecticut man came forward in Florida and filed a complaint alleging that Hernandez had shot him in the face this past February, following an argument inside "Tootsie's" a Miami strip club. According to the complaint (which was withdrawn on Monday but lawyers say will be refiled Wednesday due to some paperwork issues) the victim was a man named Alexander S. Bradley, and as a result of the shooting he has since lost his right eye. Bradley alleges that Hernandez fired the weapon at him while inside a vehicle, following the argument in the night club. Bradley claims he has had several surgeries since then, and he's seeking damages in excess of $100,000.
In many ways this off-season is one of the reasons you hear people say "you can't evaluate a draft until 3-5 years after the draft". You see, prior to drafting Rob Gronkowski was widely thought to be an injury risk after a back injury in college similar to the one he underwent surgery for yesterday. And prior to that same draft, many teams reportedly either dropped Aaron Hernandez on the draft boards or removed him altogether due to a myriad of issues ranging from his multiple failed drug tests while at the University of Florida, to the known or suspected gang activity of "his associates" in Bristol, Conn. While past and current teammates continue to vouch for the character of Hernandez, one teammate acknowledged to Sports Illustrated that he believed Hernandez was having some trouble with people from his past and was "seeking distance from them".
Stay tuned as this story continues to develop over the coming hours, days, and weeks.