Aaron Hernandez’s indictment for a 2012 double murder in Boston stemmed from an incident on July 16 of that year, just days before he would report to training camp for his third season with the Patriots.
Hernandez, though injured for a large portion of the 2012 campaign, would be one of Tom Brady’s primary receivers that season, playing 10 games and catching five touchdown passes, all while police investigated the murders of Daniel Abreu and Safiro Furtado that they now say Hernandez committed.
The deaths of Abreu and Furtado preceded the 2013 slaying of Odin Lloyd — which prosecutors say Hernandez also committed — by 11 months.
Look back on some of the notable events for Hernandez in the season after he allegedly murdered Abreu and Furtado:
July 27: Scrutiny on Rob Gronkowski as camp opens
The media focus had been on the behavior of Hernandez’s fellow tight end, Rob Gronkowski, whose judgment was questioned at points in the offseason (after his post-Super Bowl-loss shirtless dance, for example). Hernandez brushed off Gronkowski’s fun-loving ways when asked about it at the start of camp, however. “He’s still a beast. He’s Gronk. He’s a freak of nature,” Hernandez said.
Reporters probed Hernandez about how his version of summer “fun” compared with Gronkowski’s. “That’s still private . . . next question,” Hernandez said with a laugh, 11 days after the deaths of Abreu and Furtado.
Aug. 3: Hernandez kissed by Belichick
Hernandez appeared to ding his elbow during a drill and elicited an unusual reaction from Bill Belichick. The Patriots coach good-naturedly planted a kiss on Hernandez’s elbow.
“I had a little bruise on my elbow and I was whining about it, and he was just showing me the love of a father figure and he gave me a kiss on the elbow,” Hernandez said.
The tight end said he did not ask for the gesture from the coach.
“No, I didn’t ask him,” Hernandez said, smiling. “I damn sure liked it though. Felt some love.”
Aug. 27: ‘Changed’ Hernandez gets $41m deal
Hernandez and the Patriots struck a $41 million contract extension that marked the second-biggest contract any tight end had ever signed in NFL history. Hernandez promptly donated $50,000 back to a Patriots charity, something team owner Robert Kraft said was “one of the touching moments since I’ve owned the team.”
Hernandez also heaped praise on Kraft.
“He changed my life,” Hernandez said. “Now, I’m able to basically have a good chance to be set for life and have a good life and I have a daughter on the way, and I have a family that I love.
“He didn’t need to give me the amount he gave me and knowing he thinks I deserve that and he trusts me to make the right decisions, it means a lot. It means he trusts in my character and the person I am, which means a lot.”
Sept. 5: The ‘evolution’ of the tight end
Hernandez was part of the focus of the Globe’s NFL preview section, which highlighted how the Patriots, with him and Gronkowski, were remaking the tight end position in the NFL.
Sept. 9: Patriots win season opener
Hernandez catches a touchdown pass from Tom Brady, and has six catches for 59 yards overall, in a 34-13 win at Tennessee to open the season.
Sept. 16: Hurt in home opener
Hernandez suffers a sprained ankle that will sideline him for a chunk of the season. He left the home-opening loss to Arizona early and wouldn’t return for four weeks.
Oct. 18: Breaking his silence
Days after playing in his first game since hurting his ankle, Hernandez spoke to reporters for the first time since the injury. He said he feared the ankle was broken when he was hurt.
Oct. 21: Injury comes back into play
Hernandez played in his second straight game, but then was put on the bench again. He may have come back from the ankle sprain too soon, and wouldn’t be back on the field again for a month.
Nov. 22: Return to the field
Hernandez returns in a Thanksgiving night game at the Jets (a 49-19 win) and catches two passes for 36 yards.
Dec. 10: Big night vs. Texans
Hernandez scores two touchdowns and recovers a Patriots goal-line fumble in a 42-14 rout of the Texans on “Monday Night Football.”
Dec. 23: Hernandez the decoy
A still-ailing Hernandez is used basically as a decoy by the Patriots in their 23-16 win against the Jaguars, according to Globe NFL reporter Greg A. Bedard.
Jan. 20: Final game for Patriots
Hernandez catches nine passes for 83 yards as the Patriots lose to the Ravens, 28-13, in the AFC title game. It would prove to be his final game before the Patriots cut him in June 2013 hours after his arrest for the murder of Odin Lloyd.