For the past eight years, Rob Gronkowski has respectfully declined to comment on former teammate Aaron Hernandez's arrest for the murder of Odin Lloyd. But now, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers player is reflecting on Hernandez's legacy.
In an interview for the 10 Questions with Kyle Brandt podcast, the host brought up Hernandez's trial, asking Gronkowski, "How much has that stayed with you?"
Gronkowksi, who was a tight end for the New England Patriots with Hernandez, shared, "Aaron was a great player. He was a great football player. But, I mean, I get questions like that all the time about him and everything. And with everything going on, I was definitely shook when I heard that, when I heard everything about it."
However, the 31-year-old athlete said he only knew Hernandez as a football player, explaining, "Being his teammate and everything and you just, you really don't see that."
"You're not really looking into players like 'that's who they are' or 'that's what they're doing,'" he continued, "But just overall I just try to keep it simple and light. He was a great football player but that does not mean anything."
Gronkowski and Hernandez were both tight ends for the Patriots, until Hernandez was arrested for the murder of his sister-in-law's fiancé Odin Lloyd in 2013. At the time of his arrest, the Patriots released him from his contract.
Two years later, Hernandez was convicted of first-degree murder and sentenced to life in prison without the possibility for parole.
While facing trial for Lloyd's murder, the football player was accused of killing Daniel de Abreu and Safiro Furtado in a drive-by shooting. However, he was acquitted in a trial by jury in April 2017.
Though Hernandez was acquitted of all charges, he committed suicide in his Massachusetts prison cell on April 19, 2017.