Just hours after Aaron Hernandez was charged with murder, the New England Patriots released the 23-year-old former tight end and Bristol, Conn., native. Now the NFL team is offering a free jersey exchange.
The New England Patriots posted on the team website that they are encouraging parents to exchange the #81 Hernandez jerseys that were purchased in the Patriots ProShop or PatriotsProShop.com for any other Patriots player’s jersey in the store.
The free jersey exchange will be available exclusively at the Patriots ProShop the weekend of Saturday, July 6 and Sunday, July 7.
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The Patriots drafted the tight end in 2010. He first wore jersey #85 but switched to #81 when Chad Johnson, then Chad Ochocinco, joined the team and wore #85.
On Wednesday, Hernandez was charged with the murder of Odin Lloyd, a 27-year-old Dorchester man. Prosecutors said Lloyd who was the victim of an execution-style killing near the upscale North Attleboro, Mass., community where Hernandez lives.
Hernandez is being held in a Massachusetts jail and bail has been denied.
Sources told NBC News that he is also being investigated in another case — the drive-by killings of two men in Boston last year. The men were shot to death in an SUV after leaving a nightclub.
"The New England Patriots ProShop will offer a free jersey exchange of any #81 Hernandez jersey purchased at the Patriots ProShop or online at PatriotsProShop.com for a new Patriots jersey of comparable value.
“We know that children love wearing their Patriots jerseys, but may not understand why parents don’t want them wearing their Hernandez jerseys anymore,” said New England Patriots spokesperson Stacey James. “We hope this opportunity to exchange those jerseys at the Patriots ProShop for another player’s jersey will be well received by parents.”
This opportunity for a free exchange of jerseys is limited to the weekend of July 6-7 and is available only at the Patriots ProShop located at Gillette Stadium in Foxborough, Mass. The hours of operation are from 10:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m. on Saturday, July 6 and from 10:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. on Sunday, July 7. The exchange is for jerseys available in the Patriots ProShop only and is limited to one per person."