BRISTOL, Conn. (WTNH) — He went from being one of the greatest athletes in Connecticut history to a convicted killer, and at midnight, late New England Patriot Aaron Hernandez is about to be in the national spotlight again. This time, on Netflix.
Wednesday, Netflix is releasing a new docuseries on the rise and fall of the football player from Bristol Central High School athlete-turned-killer.
The documentary looks at Hernandez’s life from Bristol Central, to the NFL, to prison for murder before taking his own life in 2017.
News 8’s Sports Director John Pierson covered Hernandez’s high school and college football career, and in 2007 as he was determining his collegiate future.
“Kind of a fun loving kid, very likable kid and that was the first impression I had [as] a parent.”– News 8’s John Pierson
WEB EXTRA: News 8’s Jon Pierson interviews NFL hopeful Aaron Hernandez and football coach at Bristol High School in 2007
Pierson covered Hernandez through 10 seasons of football and was there with Hernandez’s mother when he was named Walter Camp Player of the Year in 2009.
Tuesday, Pierson explained to News 8’s Bob Wilson that, in school Hernandez was a “man among boys on the football field.”
But, as Hernandez’s career took off, Pierson said his mother became more and more worried about her son and the way he was acting.
“His mom was kind of worried at the time.
I said, ‘you must be proud of your boy,’ and she said, ‘yeah but he’s getting all of these tattoos,’ I said ‘well boys will be boys, and they get tattoos.’ But she said ‘yeah there are a couple of them that really worrying me.’ And at the time I didn’t know what she was talking about.
Now after all of this has played out, I understand some of those tattoos had some deeper meaning.”– News 8’s John Pierson
When it comes to the aftermath of the murder trial and Hernandez’s suicide, Pierson said he’s still in shock, even after all these years.
“I still sit here, and say is this real? It still doesn’t sit right with me, the whole thing! It’s just really a sad, sad story all the way around.”
The people around Bristol say, yes they were dark times, but they remember Aaron Hernandez as a high school student, happy-go-lucky kid.
The Netflix documentary also takes a look at Hernandez’s home life, his father dying during a routine operation, his mother, and his brother who played for Uconn.
The entire series on Netflix starting Wednesday.
WEB EXTRA: Full interview with News 8’s Jon Pierson on his experience interviewing Aaron Hernandez in 2007 about his collegiate choices