Deion Branch continues to see Aaron Hernandez as “great friend” and “great teammate”
Former New England Patriots offensive lineman Matt Light lost no time in trashing Hernandez, his teammate of two years, soon after Hernandez was arrested for first-degree murder and cut by the team last week.
“I never talk about other guys, but I will say I have never embraced — never believed in — anything Aaron Hernandez stood for,” Light said via the Dayton Daily News last week.
But Aaron Hernandez might find some conciliation in the fact that there is someone still out there who believes in him. Over the weekend, former teammate and Patriots wide receiver Deion Branch said found the news surrounding Hernandez’s arrest shocking since he considered the 23-year-old to be a “a great guy and a great friend of mine and a great teammate."
“That's my guy, man,” Branch said of Hernandez, according to the Albany Herald. “That's my guy. It really shocked me. He was a great kid.”
“Overall, I hope the best that he isn't involved with it and I hope he gets his name cleared,” continued Branch, “but most importantly I send my prayers and condolences out to the Lloyd family."
Branch, who was also Hernandez’s neighbor in North Attleborough, tried the best one could to defend a murder suspect and a friend when all evidence states otherwise.
"I love (Hernandez) to death, and it was shocking to hear his name involved in this situation," said Branch. "I truly hope and pray he doesn't have any dealings with it.”
Hernandez, who has been denied bail and is facing five other gun-related charges, will remain in jail until his trail begins. The 23-year-old is also being investigated in a second double-murder case in Boston after two men were shot outside a nightclub last July.
Authorities have also apprehended two other men – 27-year-old Carlos Ortiz and 41-year-old Ernest Wallace – suspected for their alleged role in Odin Lloyd’s death. According to reports, Ortiz is facing a gun charge for now, while Wallace has been charged as accessory after the fact, prosecutors said. But as the investigation progress, those charges could be upgraded.
But Branch believes that whoever it was that killed Odin Lloyd should serve his pound of flesh for the heinous crime, even if it turns out to be Aaron Hernandez or not.
"Nobody deserves to walk, whoever the person is that did it. Most of all, what we as Americans need to understand is that is somebody's child that was a victim,” said Branch. “That's somebody's dad, and my prayers and thoughts go out to his family and hope that they bring whoever did this to their child to justice, regardless of who it is."