Former New England Patriots tight end Aaron Hernandez was allegedly a regular user of the hallucinogenic drug PCP, and had become so paranoid by heavy use that he had started carrying a gun wherever he went, according to a report due out this week in Rolling Stone magazine.
The story, written by magazine contributing editor Paul Solotaroff, also alleges that Hernandez's college coach at the University of Florida, Urban Meyer, "may have helped cover up failed drug tests" by Hernandez, as well as an assault and a drive-by shooting outside a local bar in Gainesville, Fla.
Meyer, now the head coach at Ohio State University, has repeatedly denied accusations that he may have enabled lawless behavior by Hernandez while at Florida. In July, Meyer texted The Columbus Dispatch that "Hernandez was held to the same drug testing policy as every other player. ... "Our staff, myself and our families worked very hard to mentor and guide him."
The magazine released a preview of the story online Tuesday. Hernandez was arrested in June for the murder of 27-year-old Odin Lloyd, a semi-pro football player whose body was found riddled with bullets near Hernandez's home in North Attleboro, Mass.
The native of Bristol, Conn. was about to enter his 4th NFL season, all spent with the Patriots, who selected him in the fourth round of the 2010 NFL Draft. He played in 10 games in the 2012 season, catching 51 passes for 483 yards and five touchdowns. Hernandez had signed a five-year contract extension with a guaranteed $12.5 million signing bonus that was due to kick in after this coming season, but the Rolling Stone article alleges that Patriots head coach Bill Belichick was so fed up with Hernandez missing practice and pulling what the preview describes as "thug-life stunts" that the tight end was one incident away from being cut from the team.
The report of PCP use by Hernandez, if true, would indicate that the tight end's drug use was more serious than suspected. Prior to being drafted by the Patriots, Hernandez admitted to them that he had used marijuana and had failed at least one drug test while at the University of Florida. The article preview also alleges that Hernandez's mother, Terri, cheated on her husband, Dennis, with a drug dealer named Jeffrey Cummings, whom she married after her husband's death in 2006.
This is the second time in recent months that Rolling Stone has focused on a notorious crime committed in the Boston area. Earlier this year, the magazine was criticized for running a cover photograph that glamorized accused Boston Marathon bomber Dzhokhar Tsarnaev.