On a new episode of the 10 Questions with Kyle Brandt podcast, Gronkowski spoke openly about Hernandez’s charges, trial, and eventual guilty verdict in the murder of Odin Lloyd. At the time of Hernandez’s arrest and suspension from the Patriots in 2013, Gronk refused to answer questions and even wanted to walk out of one CBS This Morning interview that same year, the New York Post points out. He didn’t touch the subject when Hernandez was found guilty in 2015, or when he was found dead in his cell in 2017.
“Aaron was a great player," he said, "He was a great football player. But … I get questions like that all the time, about him and everything. And, with everything going on, I was definitely shook when I heard that."
Hernandez was first named as a suspect in the murder case of Odin Lloyd in June 2013, a year after he had signed with the Patriots on a lucrative five-year deal. He and Gronkowski were a dynamic tight end duo throughout their time playing together.
“Being a teammate and everything … you really don’t see that,” Gronkowski continued. “You’re not really looking into players like that’s who they are, or that’s what they’re doing. You know, just overall I just try to keep it simple and light. He was a great football player, but that doesn’t mean anything."
Hernandez’s case and aftermath were the subject of a 2020 Netflix documentary series, which offered a detailed look at what happened. Hernandez was also facing a double-murder charge for the 2012 deaths of Daniel de Abreu and Safiro Furtado, although he was acquitted in 2017. He took his own life in his prison cell on April 19, 2017 at age 27.