NFL players expressed a mix of surprise, sadness and resignation in the wake of the guilty verdict handed down Wednesday to former Patriots star tight end Aaron Hernandez for the killing of Odin Lloyd. He was sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole.
"Don't know if he did it or not, Im not the judge but that's a long time," 49ers defensive tackle Darnell Dockett said on Twitter shortly after the jury's decision came down.
"IM CONFUSED ABOUT THE JUSTICE SYSTEM THESE DAYS!!!" tweeted former Hernandez teammate Brandon Spikes, who is currently a free agent. He added in another tweet: "I'll get back on tmrw when yall done fake caring."
Chris Baker, who plays defensive tackle for Washington, suggested that Hernandez is one of several misguided people - not just NFL players - who made poor choices early in life.
"Sad to see some one like Hernandez throw his talent away like this but the sad truth is there are a lot of talented people who get caught up," Baker wrote on Twitter. "I've [got] so many Aaron Hernandez is my own community leave that street life alone seek God and watch your life prosper ? That gangster life is not where it's at."
Said Cardinals guard Jonathan Cooper on Twitter: "So sad to see young lives taken/thrown away."
Former Broncos running back Maurice Clarett, who served jail time for a 2006 conviction on aggravated robbery, said on Twitter as he saw the jury announcement: "Aaron Hernandez is trying to hold it together right now. It's gone hurt when he goes back to his cell. I know the feeling."
A Patriots spokesman said Wednesday afternoon the team would have no comment on the conviction. Patriots owner Robert Kraft testified during the trial, telling the jury that Hernandez had professed his innocence in the June 17, 2013 killing of Lloyd, a former semiprofessional football player.