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Rob Gronkowski, who played with Aaron Hernandez on the New England Patriots from 2010 to 2013, addressed the late athlete's murder conviction publicly for the first time

March 19, 2021 01:25 PM
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Aaron Hernandez, Rob Gronkowski
Aaron Hernandez (left) and Rob Gronkowski
| Credit: John Tlumacki/The Boston Globe via Getty

Rob Gronkowski addressed his late former teammate Aaron Hernandez's murder conviction for the first time this week.

During an episode of the 10 Questions with Kyle Brandt podcast on Wednesday, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers tight end — who played with Hernandez on the New England Patriots from 2010 to 2013 — said he was shocked when Hernandez was arrested in 2013 for the murder of Odin Lloyd.

"Aaron was a great player," Gronkowski, 31, said. "He was a great football player. But, I mean, I get questions like that all the time about him and everything. And with everything going on, I was definitely shook when I heard that, when I heard everything about it. Because being his teammate and everything and you just, you really don't see that."

Lloyd was dating the sister of Hernandez's fiancée, Shayanna Jenkins-Hernandez, at the time of his death. As he awaited trial in the case, Hernandez was also charged in connection with the fatal drive-by shootings of Daniel Jorge Correia de Abreu and Safiro Teixeira Furtado.

Hernandez, a Patriots tight end, was eventually convicted of Lloyd's murder and sentenced to life in prison; he was acquitted of the double homicide in April 2017 but days later was found dead in his prison cell after hanging himself. He was 27.

Of learning of Hernandez's charges, Gronkowski said on the podcast, "You're not really looking into players like 'that's who they are' or 'that's what they're doing.' But just overall, I just try to keep it simple and light. He was a great football player but that does not mean anything."

Last January, a documentary about Hernandez was released on Netflix called Killer Inside: The Mind of Aaron Hernandez. The documentary provided new alleged details about Hernandez's life, and also dealt with the fallout from the former football player's actions.

RELATED VIDEO: Aaron Hernandez's Relationship with Fiancée Was 'Genuine' Despite Alleged Affairs with Men: Source

During the podcast appearance this week, for which Gronkowski was joined by his longtime girlfriend Camille Kostek, the athlete was also asked to defend Buccaneers teammate Tom Brady for throwing the Lombardi trophy during the team's 2021 Super Bowl victory boat parade.

"That is how you celebrate a Super Bowl because you celebrate 600 times so you gotta to step it up a little bit when you're at a parade," Gronkowski said.

If you or someone you know is considering suicide, please contact the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255), text "STRENGTH" to the Crisis Text Line at 741-741 or go to suicidepreventionlifeline.org.