FOXBOROUGH, Mass. -- The Massachusetts State Police served Miami Dolphins center Mike Pouncey with a grand jury subpoena less than an hour after the Patriots defeated the Dolphins 27-17 at Gillette Stadium on Sunday afternoon.
A source with knowledge of the matter told SI.com that the subpoena is related to the investigation into Aaron Hernandez, Pouncey's close friend and former teammate at the University of Florida. The source indicated that police are focusing in on Hernandez's potential involvement in interstate gun trafficking, which is being investigated by several agencies in multiple states -- at least Massachusetts, New York and Florida.
The extent of Pouncey's potential involvement is undetermined, but police are focusing on multiple transactions that involve him and Hernandez. "Organizationally, we do not have a comment," said Dolphins spokesman Harvey Greene. "And Mike Pouncey does not have a comment."
A grand jury subpoena does not mean Pouncey, 24, has been or will be charged with a crime. Rather, law enforcement officials regard him as a material witness who could advance their case against Hernandez. Pouncey traveled back home with the team Sunday night.
After the game, two members of the Massachusetts State Police in dark suits approached Pouncey in the hallway between the Dolphins locker room and the team bus and handed him a piece of white paper. "It's about a grand jury investigation," one official could be heard telling Pouncey. The same police official later said, "Make sure you arrive."
Pouncey appeared confused when handed the paperwork by police and said, "What's this about?" Soon Dolphins officials were scrambling around the concourse looking for answers.
Dolphins special teams coach Darren Rizzi was in the vicinity at the time and asked one of the officers if they'd spoken to Dolphins director of security Stu Weinstein. A uniformed Massachusetts State Police officer held out his right arm and attempted to shield Rizzi from hearing the conversation between Pouncey and police officials.
Rizzi later said with a perplexed look on his face, "Pouncey just got served papers."
Dawn Aponte, the Dolphins executive vice president of football administration, could be seen reading the subpoena outside the team locker room. A uniformed Massachusetts State policeman declined comment, directing any inquiries to Weinstein.
"You need to talk to Jeff Ireland or Joe Philbin," Weinstein said, referring to the Dolphins general manager and coach. Ireland and Dolphins senior vice president of operations, Bill Galante, also declined comment.
A Patriots official said owner Robert Kraft was not made aware that Massachusetts State Police would be issuing the subpoena to Pouncey. In the minutes after the game, there were five uniformed Massachusetts State Police officers and two in suits loitering about 30 yards from the Dolphins locker room and speaking with NFL Security officials.
In September, Hernandez was indicted and pleaded not guilty to six charges, including first-degree murder. The other five charges were weapons related, as police seized at least three different types of ammunition -- .22-caliber bullets, 7.62-mm. rounds and 45-caliber bullets -- at Hernandez's home in North Attleboro, Mass., and at his "flop house" in Franklin, Mass.
The increased scrutiny on Hernandez's gun activity could be an indication that the gun charges have taken an increased importance. Shortly after the first murder investigation began, the source said, signs that Hernandez was involved with a large-scale, multi-state gun running operation began to emerge.
Mike Pouncey and his twin brother, Maurkice, a Steelers center, were close to Hernandez and all three lived together for periods of time when they played at Florida. In stories that emerged after Hernandez's arrest, the Pouncey brothers were credited with keeping Hernandez out of trouble while in Gainesville.
The only tie between the Pounceys and Hernandez that's emerged since the arrest was the two brothers being photographed in a night club wearing "Free Hernandez" hats in mid-July. The photograph blew up on social media and Maurkice Pouncey later apologized, saying: "I regret that my actions appear to make light of that serious situation."
A Steelers spokesman declined all comment, including when asked if Maurkice Pouncey had been served.
Peter King and Michael McCann contributed to this report.