NFL notebook: Prosecutor: Hernandez killed 2 over spilled drink
A spilled drink in a Boston nightclub led former Patriots tight end Aaron Hernandez to kill two people in a drive-by shooting two years ago, prosecutors said Wednesday.
Prosecutors said Hernandez felt disrespected after a stranger bumped into him and spilled his drink, prompting him to follow the man and his friends then open fire on their car at a red light.
“I think I got one in the head and one in the chest,” Hernandez told a friend as they fled the intersection, prosecutors said at the former gridiron star's arraignment.
Hernandez, already charged with killing another man last year, pleaded not guilty Wednesday to seven charges — including two counts of first-degree murder — in the July 2012 shooting that killed Daniel de Abreu and Safiro Furtado. A third man was wounded.
In the months before the killings, Suffolk County First Assistant District Attorney Patrick Haggan told the court Hernandez had become increasingly convinced that people “had been testing, trying or otherwise disrespecting him when he frequented nightclubs in the area.”
The night de Abreu and Furtado were killed, Haggan said Hernandez and a friend drove from Connecticut to a Boston nightclub called Cure. They were standing at the edge of the dance floor when de Abreu accidentally bumped into Hernandez, smiled at him and did not apologize, according to prosecutors. Haggan said de Abreu and his friends did not appear to recognize Hernandez and had no idea he was upset.
Hernandez became increasingly agitated and told his friend that de Abreu had deliberately bumped into him and “was trying him,” Haggan said.
Surveillance video outside the club shows Hernandez pacing back and forth on the sidewalk as his friend tried to calm him down, Haggan said. Hernandez and his friend then crossed the street to another nightclub, where Hernandez thought he saw de Abreu and his friends come in, according to Haggan.
Hernandez then told his friend he believed he was “being targeted and being disrespected,” Haggan said. In fact, de Abreu and his friends had not left the other club.
Haggan said Hernandez later drove around with his friend until he saw de Abreu, Furtado and others going to their car, then followed them and pulled up alongside their car at a red light.
“At this time, the victims were completely unaware there was any problem with the defendant,” Haggan said.
Hernandez leaned out the driver's side, said “Yo, what's up now,” followed by a racial slur, then fired at least five shots into the car, killing de Abreu and Furtado, and injuring a man sitting in the back seat, Haggan said.
Hernandez's attorney, Charles Rankin, objected, saying the prosecutor's account of the shooting was an attempt to poison the jury pool. Clerk Magistrate Gary Wilson dismissed the objection, saying it is standard procedure for prosecutors to describe evidence during arraignments in murder cases.
Hernandez will continue to be held without bail. He is due back in court June 24 for a scheduling hearing.
Billionaire and NFL team owner Glazer dies at 85
Malcolm Glazer, the self-made billionaire who owned English soccer's Manchester United and the NFL's Buccaneers, has died. He was 85.
The Bucs said Glazer died Wednesday.
The reclusive Palm Beach businessman had been in failing health since April 2006 when a pair of strokes left him with impaired speech and limited mobility in his right arm and leg.
Glazer raised his profile in 2005 with a $1.47 billion takeover of Manchester United that was bitterly opposed by fans of one of the world's richest soccer clubs. Before that, his unobtrusive management style helped transform the Bucs from a laughingstock into a model franchise that in 2003 won the Super Bowl 48-21 over the Oakland Raiders.
Born Aug. 25, 1928, in Rochester, N.Y., the son of a watch-parts salesman, Glazer began working for the family business when he was 8 and took over the operation as a teenager when his father died in 1943.
As president and CEO of First Allied Corp., the holding company for the family business interests, he invested in mobile-home parks, restaurants, food service equipment, marine protein, television stations, real estate, natural gas and oil production and other ventures. In March 2010, Forbes ranked him as tied for the world's 400th richest person, estimating his net worth at $2.4 billion. The magazine's separate ranking of Americans put him and his family at 139th in fall 2008.
He purchased the Bucs for a then-NFL record $192 million in 1995, taking over one of the worst-run and least successful franchises in professional sports. And while Glazer once said he probably overpaid by $50 million, the value of the team has more than quadrupled since he assumed control.
Cowboys' Lee likely out for 2014 with knee injury
Cowboys linebacker Sean Lee could miss the 2014 season after tearing a ligament in his left knee in the first offseason practice.
The team hasn't announced results of an MRI but reported on its website Wednesday that Lee, a former Upper St. Clair and Penn State standout, has been told he has a torn ACL.
Lee went down during the 11-on-11 portion of Tuesday's practice. His left leg slid out from under him as rookie guard Zack Martin was closing in for a block, and Martin rolled over him.
The 27-year-old Lee hasn't played a full season in four years. The middle linebacker has missed 15 games over the past two years, including five of the final six games in 2013 with hamstring and neck injuries.
Browns QB Johnny Manziel: “It's my life”
Johnny Manziel isn't going to change his lifestyle for anyone — like it or not.
Cleveland's celebrated rookie quarterback said he's surprised about the reaction to his weekend trip to Las Vegas. Manziel took advantage in a break from the Browns' organized team activities to take a well-documented outing to Vegas, where he hung out poolside with Patriots partying tight end Rob Gronkowski, attended a UFC fight and enjoyed the nightlife.
Manziel was aware of criticism about his decision to leave town. On Wednesday, he said if he wants to have fun and it doesn't hinder his goals, “then I really don't care what anyone has to say.”
Browns first-year coach Mike Pettine said Manziel's trip was “a non-issue” for the team, adding he will not micromanage players outside the building.
Bills WR Watkins signs rookie deal
The Bills signed first-round pick Sammy Watkins to his rookie contract. The four-year deal is fully guaranteed and worth a reported $19.9 million.
The Bills announced the signing shortly after the team's first session of organized team activities.
Buffalo moved up five spots in the draft in a trade with Cleveland to select Clemson's Watkins fourth overall. The 6-foot-1, 211-pound wideout is known for his explosive playmaking abilities and his speed and good hands.
Buffalo is counting on Watkins to immediately step into the starting lineup for a team that has not been to the playoffs since 1999, the NFL's longest current drought.
Jets RG Colon sidelined, needs knee surgery
Jets right guard Willie Colon needs knee surgery, and it is uncertain how long he will be sidelined.
Coach Rex Ryan announced Wednesday that Colon needs “a scope” after being injured during a workout before the start of organized team activities this week. When asked how long the former Steeler might be out, Ryan said, “Safe to say, it's going to be a while.”
Oday Aboushi, a fifth-round pick last year as a tackle, worked at right guard with the starters at practice Tuesday and Wednesday.
The 31-year-old Colon was re-signed by the Jets in March to a one-year, $2 million deal. He started all 16 games last season, but was recovering from a torn right biceps suffered in the season finale.
Browns' Gordon in Stage 3 of program
Browns receiver Josh Gordon was in Stage 3 of the substance-abuse program at the time of his most recent alleged violation, according to an NBC Sports report.
A player enters Stage 3 after multiple violations of the substance abuse policy and remains in the stage for the rest of his career, the report said.
The current NFL policy calls for a Stage 3 player to earn a ban of at least one year for a violation.