The NFL pre-season is usually a time to test new players and to hash out a roster for the regular season. This year’s NFL pre-season produced two notable changes to the New England Patriots’ roster, the release of Tim Tebow and Aaron Hernandez (along with the associated controversy).
Signed to the Patriots on June 10, 2013, Tebow was a low-risk pick for the Patriots. Tom Brady and Ryan Mallett have been solidified as the first and second string quarterbacks, respectively, for the Patriots and Tebow was brought on to potentially fill a third string position. Tebow, a former Heisman Trophy winner, showed promise early in his NFL career, most notably when he led the Denver Broncos to a post-season victory over the Pittsburgh Steelers in 2012. Tebow was traded to the Jets on March 21, 2012 and subsequently released after an uneventful season on April 23, 2013.
Bill Belichick, head coach of the Patriots, signed Tebow with no concrete plans for him on the Patriots roster. After watching Tebow’s underwhelming performance over three pre-season games, Belichick chose to release Tebow on Aug. 31, the same day NFL teams were required to trim their rosters to 53 players.
The story surrounding Hernandez’s release started early this summer, when his North Attleboro home was searched by Massachusetts State Police in connection with the death of Odin Lloyd. Lloyd’s body was found shot and killed in an industrial park approximately one mile from Hernandez’s home on June 17, 2013. Hernandez made national headlines again on June 26, when he was taken into police custody as the lead suspect in Lloyd’s death.
Merely 90 minutes after his arrest, the Patriots released a statement that formally released Hernandez from the New England Patriots franchise. Later that same day, the charges against Hernandez were disclosed to be first-degree murder and five weapons charges. Hernandez was indicted on August 22 by a grand jury for the murder Odin Lloyd.