Much has been made of the New England Patriots' injury woes this football season, how quarterback Tom Brady has been missing some of his favorite playthings in the passing game at various times throughout the season.
What started as the usual NFL litany of nagging injuries to guys here and there got real a couple of weeks ago for the Pats when tight end Rob Gronkowski went out with a gruesome knee injury that left the ACL and MCL in his right knee shredded, ending his 2013 season just as he was riding the high of a Texans-fueled kickstart the week before (when he had something like 50 receptions for 3,000 yards, roughly).
Since then, it's been a struggle for the Patriots as they barely beat the Browns that day and then followed up with a loss to the Dolphins. The laments were loud and clear, Gronk was missed.
And yet, seemingly forgotten amid all of this has been how the Patriots lost their other tight end this past offseason when Aaron Hernandez went to prison because he...y'know....allegedly
probably most definitely killed a guy.
Well, Hernandez is back on the radar today.
As Hernandez rots in a Massachusetts jail cell awaiting his trial for the June 2013 murder of Odin Lloyd, associates of Hernandez continue to drop like
New England receivers/tight ends flies out in society.
The latest? Tabitha Perry, a 27-year-old woman from Hernandez's hometown of Bristol, Connecticut. Courtesy of foxnews.com, here is that story:
Tabitha Perry was found unconscious and not breathing inside a Southington home. She died Monday.
The state medical examiner's office said Tuesday that Perry's death required further study, and police said they were waiting for the results of toxicology tests.
"There were no suspicious circumstances found at the time of the investigation," Sgt. Jeffry Dobratz said in a release.
Now, if you recognize Perry's name, perhaps it's because she was the passenger who survived a car crash back in June, shortly after Lloyd's murder, where a car driven by Thaddeus Singleton III drove through the front of the Farmington Country Club (officially making that the most interesting day in the history of Farmington, Connecticut).
Singleton was killed in the crash. He and Perry had a child together and,
perhaps not all that coincidentally, Singleton was also a friend of Aaron Hernandez, and is best known for being the person who introduced Hernandez to Carlos Ortiz and Ernest Wallace, the two other defendants facing charges in the Lloyd murder case. It was Singleton's wife Tanya (apparently not to be confused with his baby mama, Perry) whose home Ortiz and Wallace fled to after Lloyd was murdered. Tanya Singleton was indicted in September on charges of criminal contempt and conspiracy to commit accessory after the fact in the Lloyd shooting.
So you have Hernandez's buddy Singleton and his baby mama dying in "unrelated" incidents about six months apart, and Singleton's wife being indicted as part of the Hernandez murder investigation in the process.
Well, just to sprinkle in a little more potential confusion (and possible foul play), you may recall, another person with ties to Hernandez, Robert Valentine (Hernandez's mother's brother), dying in a car crash in August.
So that's three Hernandez associates dead within the last six months. And that's not even including Odin Lloyd, whose murder started this whole bizarre cycle of bloodshed to begin with.
Okay, now breathe....
At this point, as Aaron Hernandez awaits his day in court, I think we can firmly establish three things:
1. Aaron Hernandez was friends with a lot of really shitty drivers.
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2. The Hernandez family tree (and the family trees of those with ties to Hernandez) may as well be shaped like a tumbleweed.
3. While heart disease is still the number one killer of Americans in 2013, it would appear that "knowing Aaron Hernandez" is making a late December push.
Oh, and the Patriots play at Baltimore this Sunday.
Listen to Sean Pendergast on 1560 Yahoo! Sports Radio from 3 p.m. to 7 p.m. weekdays and nationally on the Yahoo! Sports Radio network Saturdays from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. CST. Also, follow him on Twitter at http://twitter.com/SeanCablinasian.