The former star tight end's defense attorney believes his situation should have been handled differently.
Jose Baez, Aaron Hernandez's defense attorney, told SI Now he doesn't blame Patriots head coach Bill Belichick nor the organization for the late football player's death. But he believes the team could have handled a 2013 trade request from Hernandez differently.
Baez, author of Unnecessary Roughness: Inside the Trial and Final Days of Aaron Hernandez, wrote about an instance in which Hernandez flew to Indianapolis, met with Belichick and expressed his desire to be traded away from the Patriots because he feared his life was in danger. However, New England did not grant the request.
Hernandez, who was sentenced to life in prison in 2015 after being convicted for the murder Odin Lloyd, was found dead of suicide in April 2017. The former tight end spent three seasons with the Patriots, signing a five-year, $40 million extension in 2012, just before his final year in the NFL.
Baez said he understands Hernandez's contribution to the club made him indispensible, but he questioned whether or not the club did well by Hernandez after he submitted a trade request.
"I run a business myself," Baez told SI Now, "and if an employee came to me and said, ‘I’m in fear for my life. There’s a drug dealer trying to kill me and my family,’ I think I would do a little more than just tell him, 'Sorry, we’re not getting rid of you, we’re not trading you. Maybe you should get a separate apartment.'
"I don’t blame Bill Belichick, but I do think it should have been handled differently."