As he was led from his home in the morning, Hernandez was wearing a white V-neck T-shirt, with his arms inside the shirt and behind his back. He spit into some bushes on his way to a police cruiser.
Later, as he was taken from the North Attleborough police station to court, two dozen supporters cheered, some yelling, “We love you, Aaron!”
“Words cannot express the disappointment we feel knowing that one of our players was arrested as a result of this investigation,” the Patriots said in a statement announcing he had been cut.
The team added: “We realize that law enforcement investigations into this matter are ongoing. We support their efforts and respect the process. At this time, we believe this transaction is simply the right thing to do.”
The Patriots drafted Hernandez, who is originally from Bristol, Conn., in 2010 out of the University of Florida, where he was an All-American.
During the draft, one team said it wouldn’t take him under any circumstances, and he was passed over by one club after another before New England picked him in the fourth round.
Afterward, Hernandez said he had failed a drug test in college — reportedly for marijuana — and was up front with teams about it.
In other off-the-field troubles, a Florida man filed a lawsuit last week claiming Hernandez shot him in the face after they argued at a strip club in February.
And The Boston Globe reported that Hernandez lost his temper and threatened a teammate during an argument in the team’s weight room shortly after he was drafted.
Hernandez became a father on Nov. 6 and said he intended to change his ways: “Now, another one is looking up to me. I can’t just be young and reckless Aaron no more. I’m going to try to do the right things.”
Associated Press writers Bridget Murphy in Boston and Howard Ulman in North Attleborough contributed to this story.