An NFL source said Belichick was never aware of any gang-related concerns about Hernandez or his associates.
“No. I don’t know that it was ever brought to Bill’s attention,” the source said. “I think teams bringing that up now, I would think it’s sour grapes. If it had been real gang stuff I think Bill would’ve stayed away. Bill would not have wanted to interject that into his locker room.”
Before the Patriots drafted Hernandez, Belichick got on the phone with Hernandez’s agent, David Dunn, and explained they would only pick the tight end if they could build protections into the contract.
Hernandez’s $200,000 signing bonus was not guaranteed and was $286,250 less than the player who had gone in his draft slot the year before, Vaughn Martin. Significant portions of his compensation were tied to incentives and roster bonuses.
By the time the Patriots signed Hernandez to a five-year extension last August they believed the risk had been mitigated. They were comfortable with him moving forward.
Hernandez pledged allegiance to the Patriot Way, saying it had changed his life. The only thing that had changed were the zeros in his paycheck.
A player who came to the Patriots with character cons had conned them with their own game.