Patriots Offer Aaron Hernandez Jersey Exchange, Former Teammates Speak Out

The New England Patriots is further distancing itself from former tight end Aaron Hernandez, who is accused of killing another football player. 

The Patriots announced last week that they would offer anyone with a Hernandez jersey an exchange for a free jersey of comparable value that doesn’t have the controversial figure’s name on it. 

The exchange will only be offered weekend of July 6-7 at the Patriots Pro Shop.

"We know that children love wearing their Patriots jerseys but may not understand why parents don't want them wearing their Hernandez jerseys anymore," Patriots spokesman Stacey James said in a statement according to "We hope this opportunity to exchange those jerseys at the Patriots Pro Shop for another player's jersey will be well received by parents."

Not all will take advantage of the program.

According to The Boston Globe, Hernandez merchandise is a "hot item" on auction sites like eBay.

For example, jersey's listed as low as 99 cents or $15 dollars are selling for close to $300 dollars.

Former teammates also began giving their opinion about the accused murderer.

The body of Odin Lloyd was found June 17 near Hernandez's home. Police arrested him last Wednesday and charged him with orchestrating the execution-style shooting.

Hernandez has pleaded not guilty and is being held without bail. Two other men are also in custody. Prosecutors say the three were in a car with Lloyd shortly before his death.

"I never talk about other guys," former Patriots offensive lineman Matt Light told the Dayton Daily News. "But I will say I have never embraced -- never believed in -- anything Aaron Hernandez stood for."

Light retired last year and is now an ESPN analyst.

"It was a thug life," is how one unnamed teammate described some of Hernandez's friends, according to Sports Illustrated.

Meanwhile, Deion Branch, the former Patriots wide receiver and current free agent, defended Hernandez.

“Aaron is a great guy and a great friend of mine and a great teammate,” Branch Branch told The Albany Herald on Saturday. “I love him to death, and it was shocking to hear his name involved in this situation. I truly hope and pray he doesn’t have any dealings with it.”

Unlike the majority of those watching the case Branch seems to be giving his friend the benefit of the doubt.

Includes reporting by The Associated Press.

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