Patriots quarterback Tim Tebow tried to prevent former New England tight end Aaron Hernandez from getting into a fight at a Gainesville bar in 2007, while they were teammates at the University of Florida, the Orlando Sentinel reported.
Hernandez, who was then a 17-year-old freshman, allegedly punched a bouncer in the head after an argument over a bar bill, according to police records obtained by the Sentinel. The bouncer required medical treatment for a burst right ear drum.
When police arrived at the scene and could not find Hernandez, they interviewed Tebow about the incident. According to police records obtained by the Sentinel, Tebow said he witnessed the dispute and tried to “help resolve the conflict.”
Tebow told police he tried to prevent any violence by telling Hernandez to leave and making arrangements to pay the bill.
The Sentinel reported that police caught up with Hernandez two hours later to speak with him about the incident. The officer who interviewed him wrote that Hernandez was “polite and professional,” the Sentinel reported, and did not appear to be intoxicated.
It was not clear how the incident was resolved because Hernandez’s juvenile records are sealed.
Hernandez, now 23, is facing a murder charge in the slaying of 27-year-old semi-pro football player Odin Lloyd. He has pleaded not guilty and is being held without bail.
In an exploration of Hernandez’s past and his relationship with Loyd, ESPN.com's Elizabeth Merrill learned that Tebow, who was a sophomore at the time of the alleged bar incident, had previously hosted Hernandez on a recruiting visit and at one point was close with the tight end.
John Hevesy, who was Hernandez’s positional coach at the University of Florida, told ESPN.com that Tebow had reached out to Hernandez but no mentorship was struck.
"Tim struggled with [others'] immaturity," Hevesy said, "like, 'Why aren't you doing this the way I do it?' Kids are kids. I think it's not as much Aaron as it was Timmy. Timmy was a very mature 18-year-old. If you take a poll of 10 18-year-olds, 'What are first three things on your mind?' OK, first is going to be women, second's going be this and third's going got be this. Tim's going to be, 'Well, God, God and God.'
"Were they still close? Yes. But I think 18-year-olds want to do what 18-year-olds want to do, and Tim was more of a 22-year-old."