Many of us believe in redemption, especially for those who showed so much promise and talent during their lives. However, the story of Aaron Hernandez, who was once the most promising tight end in the National Football League, is not one of redemption. Even though Hernandez was recently acquitted in the murder trial of two individuals, he was still facing life in prison for his conviction in another murder trial. Faced with not getting out of prison for the rest of his life, Hernandez took the step of ending his life this week. He was found in his prison cell, having hung himself with a bed sheet.
For those who knew of Hernandez from the moment he started playing college football, this is an incredibly sad end to the life of a man who could have done it all. It is not an exaggeration to say he had the world at his feet a few years ago, as he formed one of the deadliest tight end duos in football with Rob Gronkowski at the New England Patriots. And when you factor in that he was being coached by Bill Belichick, and had Tom Brady as his quarterback, it is safe to say Hernandez could have won multiple Super Bowl rings with his team.
As it happens, the Patriots did fine without him, winning two Super Bowls in the time he has spent in prison. Hernandez chose not to let his talent do the talking. He chose to walk away from a comfortable life with his family, where he would have been set for life given the type of big money contracts he was signing with the Patriots. He chose to get himself involved in situations that could be described as ill-advised at best, and truly criminal at worst.
While many of us are still not clear regarding the full details of his two murder trials, what we do know is that Aaron Hernandez took the worst route he possible could have chosen in his life. He decided to get involved with gangsters and criminals from his old neighborhood, instead of rising above those situations and leading a normal life. And now his life is over, at 27 years of age, when he should have been at the peak of his illustrious career. It may not be a popular opinion now, but football misses the talent of Aaron Hernandez.
His suicide was confirmed in the early hours of Wednesday morning, as Hernandez has committed suicide a few hours before. A bed sheet attached to a window on his cell did the job, and despite the efforts of those who found him to perform life saving techniques, he was already dead. There was no suicide note, and no indication that this was something Hernandez had been contemplating. In either case, his family will now have to resign themselves to the fact that they will never see him again. In five or ten years, everyone will have forgotten his name. A life wasted, which could have been so much more.