Do the Patriots owe Aaron Hernandez’s estate any money?

Aaron Hernandez was the first player in NFL history to be convicted of first-degree murder during his playing days.
Aaron Hernandez is the first player in NFL history to be convicted of first-degree murder during his playing days. –Stephan Savoia / AP

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Though he was convicted of Odin Lloyd’s murder in 2015 and sentenced to life in prison, Aaron Hernandez may technically become an innocent man in his death, thanks to a legal principle called “abatement ab initio.”

In Massachusetts, upon a person’s death, if they have not exhausted their legal appeals, their case reverts to its status at the beginning — it’s as if the trial and conviction never happened.

And it has brought to the forefront an interesting question: Does the legal technicality entitle Hernandez to recover any or all of the $5.91 million that was previously guaranteed in his contract but the Patriots withheld after his arrest?

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