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Police visit Aaron Hernandez's home
State and local police spent hours at the home of New England Patriots tight end Aaron Hernandez on Tuesday night as another group of officers searched an industrial park about a mile away where a body was discovered the day before.
Police at the scene and prosecutors would not comment on the actions while Sports Illustrated, citing an unidentified source, reported that Hernandez was not believed to be a suspect in what was being treated as a possible homicide. Police had spoken with Hernandez, the magazine said.
Sports Illustrated reported that the link between Hernandez and the case was a rented Chevrolet Suburban with Rhode Island plates that police had been searching for. The Sun Chronicle of Attleboro, Mass., said the SUV was registered to Enterprise and investigators wanted to analyze it for fingerprints.
The Associated Press could not independently confirm the reports.
No cause of death had been released for the body found about 5:30 p.m. Monday.
Hernandez is represented by the Athletes First agency, which said it has no comment “on the Aaron Hernandez situation.” The player’s mother said by telephone from Connecticut on Tuesday she had no knowledge of a case involving him.
The Patriots drafted Hernandez out of Florida in 2010. Since then, he has combined with Rob Gronkowski to form one of the top tight end duos in the NFL.
On Tuesday night, some police officers stood on the front steps of Hernandez’s home and others could be seen inside. Some walked around the driveway and in the garage with flashlights. Before wrapping up their work for the night, one officer took a box out of the massive house.
“I am aware of the reports, but I do not anticipate that we will be commenting publicly during an ongoing police investigation,” Patriots spokesman Stacey James said.
North Attleborough is south of Boston on the Rhode Island state line, not far from the Patriots’ stadium in Foxboro.
In 38 games, the 6-foot-1, 245-pound Hernandez has 175 receptions for 1,956 yards and 18 touchdowns. He missed 10 games last season with an ankle injury and had shoulder surgery in April, but is expected to be ready for training camp. The Patriots have not said which shoulder was operated on.
Last summer, the Patriots gave Hernandez a five-year contract. It was worth $40 million, according to reports, and came just months after the team locked up Gronkowski, through 2019.
Gronkowski undergoes back surgery
New England Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski underwent back surgery on Tuesday, his fourth operation this year.
The latest surgery was performed by Dr. Robert Watkins and was successful, said Drew Rosenhaus, Gronkowski's agent.
On May 20, the Patriots star had the most recent operation on the left forearm that he broke on Nov. 18 while blocking for an extra point in a 59-24 win over the Indianapolis Colts. He had an operation soon after, the first of four on his forearm.
He broke it again in the Patriots' first playoff game, a 41-28 win over the Houston Texans on Jan. 13, and has had three forearm operations since then. Rosenhaus said the surgery performed last month was expected to be the last on his forearm.
The Patriots open training camp in late July and start the regular season on Sept. 8 at Buffalo.
In 43 NFL games, Gronkowski has scored 39 touchdowns, 38 on passes and one on a run.
Drafted in the second round out of Arizona in 2010, he was chosen for the Pro Bowl in 2011. In that season, he set NFL records for tight ends with 17 touchdown catches, 18 total touchdowns and 1,327 yards receiving.
In 11 games last season, Gronkowski had 55 catches for 790 yards and 11 touchdowns. He missed five regular-season games with forearm and hip injuries and the AFC championship game, a 28-13 loss to the Baltimore Ravens, after he re-broke his forearm.