Less than two hours after Aaron Hernandez was arrested in connection to a murder investigation, the New England Patriots dropped him from the team.
“Words cannot express the disappointment we feel knowing that one of our players was arrested as a result of this investigation,” the team said in a statement announcing Hernandez’s release.
Hernandez was arrested Wednesday morning at his Attleboro home. Although police have not announced the charges, his arrest is widely believed to be related to the homicide probe of another football player.
State police said they won't discuss the charge against Hernandez until it's presented in Attleboro District Court later Wednesday.
The Patriots drafted Hernandez, who is originally from Bristol, Conn., out of the University of Florida in 2010. Last summer, the team gave him a five-year contract worth $40 million.
“We realize that law enforcement investigations into this matter are ongoing,” the team’s statement said. “We support their efforts and respect the process. At this time, we believe this transaction is simply the right thing to do.”
Odin Lloyd, a 27-year-old semi-pro football player for the Boston Bandits, was found slain June 17. Officials ruled the death a homicide but did not say how Lloyd died.
Lloyd's relatives said he was dating the sister of Hernandez's fiancee, that the two men were friends and that the men were out together on the last night of Lloyd's life.
It's unclear why Hernandez was taken into custody Wednesday before 9 a.m. and put into the back of a police cruiser. He was wearing a white V-neck T-shirt, with his arms inside the shirt and behind his back as he was led from his North Attleborough home. He casually spit into some bushes on his way to the car.
Hernandez was arrested on a state police warrant at about 8:45 a.m. and was being booked at the North Attleboro police station, state police said on the agency's Twitter account.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
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