Aaron Hernandez, who won a national title with Florida and went to the Super Bowl with the New England Patriots, is the subject of a new Netflix documentary series titled “Killer Inside: The Mind of Aaron Hernandez.” The three-part series covers the tight end’s rise to the NFL and his inevitable downfall, including his involvement in three murders.
“Killer Inside: The Mind of Aaron Hernandez,” directed by Geno McDermott and produced by Netflix, debuted on the streaming service on Wednesday. The three-part series delves deep into the traumatic life of the former NFL player and convicted murderer who eventually committed suicide in prison in 2017.
The documentary touches on several sensitive subjects, including the abusive relationship between his parents, the unexpected death of his father, and Hernandez’s closet homosexuality. “Killer Inside” also raises questions about the numerous concussions he incurred while playing football, and how the role of chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE) played into Hernandez’s downfall.
“No one has allegedly murdered two people then played an entire season as a professional athlete,” said journalist Kevin Armstrong from the New York Daily News.
CTE researchers at Boston University studied damaged brains of former NFL players. Their report indicated that Hernandez, who died at the age of 27, had one of the most severe cases of CTE for someone of his young age.
Rise and Fall of Hernandez
Hernandez, one of the top high school football players from the state of Connecticut, bucked family tradition. His father and older brother both played football for UConn, which offered him a scholarship at the age of 14. Hernandez accepted a scholarship to Florida instead where he played on the 2009 national championship squad under legendary coach, Urban Meyer. During his time with the Florida Gators, Hernandez became a favorite target of quarterback Tim Tebow.
At Florida, local police in Gainesville allowed Hernandez to get away with multiple crimes, including an alleged drive-by shooting incident. Hernandez failed a drug test, which the school was unable to cover up. As a result, his draft stock plummeted due to his stoner reputation. The All-American tight end should have been a first-round pick, but dropped to the fourth round. The New England Patriots selected him with the 113th overall pick in the 2010 NFL Draft.
Hernandez thrived under coach Bill Belichick in the three seasons he played for the Patriots. He became a part of a double tight end offense that included Rob Gronkowski. Hernandez went to Super Bowl XLVI where the Patriots lost to Eli Manning and the New York Giants.
Hernandez lived in North Attleborough, Massachusetts, located less than two hours from his hometown in Bristol, Connecticut. The close proximity to friends, family, and old bad habits inevitably led to his downfall when he fell in with the wrong crowd.
In June 2013, police arrested Hernandez as a suspect in the murder of Odin Lloyd. At the time, Lloyd dated the sister of Hernandez’s fiancé. Lloyd’s bullet-riddled body was found dead less than a mile from Hernandez’s mansion.
The Patriots immediately cut ties with Hernandez, who had recently signed a five-year contract extension worth $40 million.
After a whirlwind trial under heavy media scrutiny, Hernandez was convicted of Lloyd’s murder. During the trial, the New England Patriots won a Super Bowl. Instead of a ring, however, Hernandez received life imprisonment without the possibility of parole.
Boston police also named Hernandez as the suspect in a double homicide from the summer of 2012. Although initially indicted in the shooting which happened outside a Boston club, the DA’s office failed to convict Hernandez.
Five days after his acquittal, Hernandez committed suicide in prison.
Killer Inside: The Mind of Aaron Hernandez, a three-part new documentary series, is currently available on Netflix.