In the wake of Hernandez

BY DANNY PAYNE | APRIL 16, 2015 5:00 AM

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Wednesday’s biggest story in the football world not only affected Aaron Hernandez, his family, and the victims involved with the situation — it also had an effect on the Iowa program.

A Massachusetts jury found former New England Patriot tight end Aaron Hernandez guilty of first-degree murder. Hernandez murdered Odin Lloyd in 2013 and was also convicted of unlawful possession of a firearm and unlawful possession of ammunition. A first-degree murder charge carries a mandatory sentence of life in prison without possibility of parole.

Hernandez’s brother, DJ, is a graduate assistant on Iowa’s staff and works with Hawkeye tight ends.

“All you can do is lend support,” said Kirk Ferentz, who coached under Patriot head coach Bill Belichick before he began in New England. “It’s a very tough time for DJ to go through; he’s a tremendous young man … There are a lot of things in life that happen that are very tough to explain.

“I’m not sure I can explain this one. Certainly it’s been a tough period for him.”

Even more, Ferentz’s son Brian has connection to the Patriot organization. He worked with Patriots’ tight ends in 2010 and 2011, when Hernandez was a member of the team.

Brian Ferentz had similar thoughts on the situation during a press conference Wednesday.

“These things are unfortunate, and really I don’t think it benefits Iowa football or myself to comment on the situation other than it’s tragic,” he said. “It’s certainly much more tragic for the victims involved, but these types of things, they affect everyone. I feel bad for DJ and for his family, but I feel worse for the victims in this case.

“Things like this, again, I think the reason you don’t comment is what can you really say? I don’t know what I could say that would make any sense to me or to anyone in here and wouldn’t be picked apart.

“I think it’s very difficult for DJ, and I think it’s more difficult for the victims. I wish it hadn’t happened, but it did.”

Follow @dannyapayne on Twitter for news, updates, and analysis about the Iowa football team.

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