Aaron Hernandez was using angel dust, had become paranoid to the point of carrying a gun everywhere and was told by New England Patriots coach Bill Belichick to lie low or he'd be cut in the year before being accused of murder, according to a story in an upcoming issue of Rolling Stone.
Citing longtime friends of Hernandez who did not want their names used, the magazine describes a young man who was protected and pushed by his father in Bristol, Conn. But when his father, who had his own run-ins with the law but had gone straight, died unexpectedly, Hernandez's life teetered between great accomplishments on the field and trouble off it.
He escaped scrapes with the law while a star player at Florida and even convinced the Patriots he was worth drafting, but especially after signing his five-year, $40 million contract extension in 2012, Hernandez hung out almost exclusively with a rough crowd.
Friends called the people gangsters, and even Hernandez expressed concern, according to the magazine. In February, according to the report, he flew to the NFL combine in Indianapolis to tell Belichick that his life was in danger. He had been carrying a gun, fearing that the people he had been hanging out with were going to kill him.
He did not reveal that he had been using PCP (angel dust), according to Rolling Stone, nor that he often smoked marijuana after games, which is what friends told the magazine.
According to the report, this past spring Hernandez skipped workouts to rehab an injury in California. But the partying followed him there, he missed rehab sessions and the police were even called to his rental home after a loud dispute.
Belichick then told Hernandez that he had better lie low and that any more problems would result in the tight end being cut. Hernandez rented an apartment in Franklin, Mass., according to the report, creating distance from the North Attleborough mansion where he'd entertained the rough crowd.
Friends told the magazine, however, that drugs and emotional instability based on Hernandez's loss of his father led to paranoia and Hernandez's ultimate unraveling.
"Don't matter what it's about: Aaron's out of his mind," a friend of the family said, according to Rolling Stone. "He's been twisted on dust now for more than a year, which is when all of this crazy s--- started."
In the aftermath of Hernandez's arrest, it was revealed that he was a suspect in the murders of two other men in Boston and that he was facing a civil suit for shooting another man in the face.
The Bristol district attorney's office announced Tuesday that Hernandez is scheduled to be arraigned on Sept. 6 in Fall River (Mass.) Superior Court on a first-degree murder charge in the death of semi-professional football player Odin Lloyd. Hernandez was indicted Thursday.
Lloyd was found fatally shot June 17 near Hernandez's North Attleborough home. Prosecutors say Hernandez orchestrated Lloyd's killing because he was upset at him for talking to people Hernandez had problems with. Hernandez's lawyers say they are confident their client will be exonerated. Hernandez is being held without bail at a county jail.