Patriots release Hernandez after his arrest on suspicion of murder
The New England Patriots have released tight end Aaron Hernandez following his arrest earlier today.
Hernandez was taken into custody by police investigating the murder of 27-year-old Odin Lloyd, a semi-professional football player from the Boston area, whose body was discovered on the morning of June 17.
Lloyd is reported to have had links to Hernandez, who was this morning taken away from his house in North Attleboro, Massachusetts, in handcuffs.
The arrest follows several days of police activity in and around Hernandez's home.
While the Massachusetts State Police have yet to disclose the charges being brought against Hernandez, the Patriots have responded by dropping the player from their roster.
"The New England Patriots have announced the release of tight end Aaron Hernandez following his arrest in the investigation of a homicide last week in North Attleboro, Mass," read a statement on patriots.com.
"A young man was murdered last week and we extend our sympathies to the family and friends who mourn his loss.
"Words cannot express the disappointment we feel knowing that one of our players was arrested as a result of this investigation.
"We realize that law enforcement investigations into this matter are ongoing. We support their efforts and respect the process.
"At this time, we believe this transaction is simply the right thing to do."
The 23-year-old Hernandez was arrested shortly before 9am local time and was due be formally notified of the charges being against him in court later today.
NFL spokesman Greg Aiello said in a statement on nfl.com: "The involvement of an NFL player in a case of this nature is deeply troubling.
"The Patriots have released Aaron Hernandez, who will have his day in court. At the same time, we should not forget the young man who was the victim in this case and take this opportunity to extend our deepest sympathy to Odin Lloyd's family and friends."
Hernandez played three seasons for the Patriots after being signed as a fourth-round pick in the 2010 Draft.
He starred as the Patriots won the AFC Championship in 2011 but then tasted defeat in the Super Bowl as New England went down 21-17 to the New York Giants.
Hernandez received Pro Bowl honours for his displays in the 2011 season and in August 2012 agreed a lucrative five-year contract extension with the Pats through to 2018.