NFL

Coach recalls last time he saw Lloyd

Odin Lloyd
Odin Lloyd had a love for football that kept him playing for free at the age of 27.
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Ross Jones

Ross Jones is an NFL Editor for FOXSports.com. He is a member of Pro Football Writers of America. Follow him on Twitter.

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Odin Lloyd, the victim of the murder investigation involving Aaron Hernandez, had a love for football that kept him playing for free at the age of 27.

Lloyd, who was a member of the semi-pro New England Football League’s Boston Bandits, played defensive end and was a terrific athlete, but was a better teammate and friend, according to the team’s coach.

“He was a very happy-go-lucky type of guy,” Olivier Bustin told FOXSports.com in a telephone interview Friday. “He always had a big smile on his face. He got along great with both offensive and defensive players.

“Sometimes he was a little goofy at practice but never in a distractive way, but in a manner that would reflect his humorous side of his personality.”

Bustin distinctly remembers the last time he saw Lloyd. On June 15, the team had a scrimmage and the coach remembers Lloyd having a great performance. After the workout wrapped up, the coach saw Lloyd leave in a black car that he said is related to the ongoing investigation.

When asked if Bustin had ever seen Lloyd in that car before, the coach said, “No, I had not.”

Did Bustin know that Lloyd was an acquaintance of Hernandez’s? “No, I did not,” he said.

Did any of the players on the team know Lloyd had a relationship with Hernandez?

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“Some of them knew of him being acquainted with Mr. Hernandez,” Bustin said. “We have made ourselves available to the local police and state police. Whatever information they may have, I’m sure the police asked them.”

Lloyd was found dead with multiple gunshot wounds in an industrial park on June 17. His body was found in North Attleboro, Mass., less than a mile away from Hernandez's home.

Bustin learned on Tuesday that Lloyd had died.

“On Monday night, one of my players tried to call me. I spoke to him the next day because he didn’t leave a message, because that’s not the type of thing you leave on a message.”

The team held practice that night to get on the same page. A moment of silence was held before the team got underway.

“Odin would want us to practice, so that’s what we did,” Bustin said.

The local semi-pro league is a working man’s league. Many players work two jobs and play because their passion for the game remains. None of the players are paid because it would ruin their collegiate eligibility.

“They purchase their own uniforms,” Bustin said. “They get their names on the back. Those who can’t always afford it, we lend them shirts. We have a few in stock. But generally speaking, they are paying for the right to play football.”

RISE AND FALL

How did Aaron Hernandez go from a Patriots star to a defendant in a murder case? We track his career over the years.

After a disappointing finish to last season, Lloyd decided to rededicate himself to the game with six or seven of his friends who went to the same school.

“In this past scrimmage, he was assisting a younger player with his technique. That younger player is trying to parlay his experience in semi-pro into getting into college,” Bustin said. “His presence will definitely be missed.”

Saturday will be a long day for the Bandits. The team will attend services for Lloyd in the morning. That evening, it plans to remember Lloyd before its benefit game against the Bay State Bucs. The Bay State team plans to read a statement from Lloyd’s family and will count off 53 seconds — reflecting his jersey number — as a tribute.

“We are planning to attend his services,” Bustin said. “It’s going to be an emotional day for our players.

“Since it’s a working man’s league, hopefully a large number of players will be able to get the morning off as well as the afternoon and the evening.”

Tagged: Patriots, Aaron Hernandez

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