GENEVA, Ohio – Lots of people are talking about Aaron Hernandez, but his college coach isn’t one of them.
Asked Monday how he’s felt as events surrounding Hernandez, the former Florida and New England Patriots tight end now facing a first-degree murder charge, have unfolded over the last week, Ohio State coach Urban Meyer offered a brief and direct response.
“I’m not going to talk about that,” Meyer said.
Meyer, now coaching Ohio State, coached Hernandez at the University of Florida from 2007 to 2009.
The Patriots released Hernandez last week, a few hours after his arrest and a few hours before he was formally charged. Hernandez had a history of issues at Florida including admitting to failing drug tests that resulted in a suspension. A Gainesville Sun story late last week said Meyer served as a father figure of sorts for Hernandez when Hernandez was dealing with his father’s death, including the Meyer family hosting Hernandez at their home for regular Bible studies.
It’s surely a sensitive issue, and it’s unclear how close Meyer and Hernandez had remained since Hernandez left Florida following the 2009 season. But the Hernandez story is the biggest football story there is right now, and one of the game’s best coaches isn’t talking about.
Meyer has a close relationship with Patriots coach Bill Belichick, who’s been fond of drafting Florida players. The Patriots signed the 23-year old Hernandez to a $40 million contract extension last August.
Meyer held a short media availability Monday afternoon following his annual youth football camp near his hometown of Ashtabula. More than 300 kids in 1st-8th grades attended the camp.