The New England Patriots announced on Twitter they have released Tight End Aaron Hernandez.
His release comes just 90 minutes after Hernandez's arrest for an unidentified charge according to NBC Sports.
Although the charge was not identified yet, it is pretty clear the tight end was somehow connected with the murder of Odin Lloyd, a semi-pro football player.
North Attleboro police found Lloyd dead near Hernandez's home last week. The two of them were seen together at a Boston bar on the night of the homicide.
Investigators also reported Hernandez intentionally destroyed his home security system and broke his cell phone, which many believe is the reason for his arrest.
The release coming so quickly surprises the NFL world for many reasons. Firstly, the Patriots are already hurting at the tight end position with Pro Bowler Rob Gronkowski receiving back surgery last week. It is highly unlike he starts the season on the field.
Secondly, Hernandez received a contract extension in 2012 worth $39 million with a signing bonus of $12.5 million. Essentially, New England has already paid Hernandez the signing bonus, and now he will not be on the team.
Along with announcing his release, the team made a statement regarding the decision:
“A young man was murdered last week and we extend our sympathies to the family and friends who mourn his loss. Words cannot express the disappointment we feel knowing that one of our players was arrested as a result of this investigation. We realize that law enforcement investigations into this matter are ongoing. We support their efforts and respect the process. At this time, we believe this transaction is simply the right thing to do.”
The Patriots drafted Hernandez in the fourth round of the NFL draft in 2010. He played three seasons on the team catching 175 passes for 1,956 yards, and 18 touchdowns in 38 games.