This week, the Bristol County Sheriff’s Office released the transcripts of more than 900 phone calls the NFL star made while locked up on murder charges. The documents paint Hernandez as an emotional, optimistic man who frequently talked about his post-incarceration plans.
According to the Boston Globe, one his first calls from the Bristol jail was with his good friend and former University of Florida teammate Mike Pouncey.
"I’m still going to be young when I get out of jail, so you know I’m going to try to play ball again,’" Hernandez reassured Pouncey, who is now a Los Angeles Chargers center.
He made similar statements to his former Patriots teammate Brandon Spikes: "Check this out. I get to pick what team I want to be on once I get out."
Hernandez would also speak about feeling abandoned by Patriots coach Bill Belichick, and would dismiss reports of his alleged drug use, as well as his rumored gay relationship. The majority of his calls were with his friends, fiancee, and mother, Terri Hernandez, who provided a rare comment to the Boston Globe following the transcripts' release.
"He changed drastically from the son I once knew," Terri wrote via email. "I couldn’t grasp or make sense of what was going on in his life and the anger he held and most of the time it was towards me. I believe he had to blame someone for all his problems and it was me. I never knew about the abuse molestation and him being gay before he told me in January 2017. If he had told me earlier in life I could have helped him. As far as the CTE no one would have been aware of the damage to his brain until his death. I will never fully understand what happened."
On April 19, 2017, Hernandez was found hanging from a bed sheet inside his prison cell. He was pronounced dead shortly after. The athlete was posthumously diagnosed with chronic traumatic encephalopathy, a brain condition many believe contributes to violent behavior.