Hernandez pleads not guilty to murder

The Associated PressSeptember 7, 2013 

Former New England Patriots star Aaron Hernandez pleaded not guilty to a first-degree murder charge Friday following his indictment in the killing of a friend authorities say was shot five times in an industrial park.

Hernandez firmly answered “not guilty” to six charges, including murder and weapons and ammunition possession charges.

His attorneys agreed ahead of the hearing that Hernandez, 23, will continue to be held without bail but reserved the right to request bail later. The next court hearing was set for Oct. 9.

Defense attorney Charles Rankin said outside the courthouse that Hernandez’s legal team is confident the ex-Patriot will be exonerated during a trial. “Not one shred of evidence has been presented yet,” he said.

The arraignment “is like the opening kickoff,” Rankin said. And, he encouraged people to keep an open mind and let the lawyers and the justice system do their work.

A Massachusetts grand jury last month returned the indictment against Hernandez in the death of Odin Lloyd, a 27-year-old semi-professional football player from Boston who was dating the sister of Hernandez’s girlfriend.

TEBOW TAKES STAND

Free agent quarterback Tim Tebow turned down an NFL team interested in him because he refuses to switch to another position, according to Sports Illustrated’s Peter King.

The report did not indicate which team was interested in Tebow.

Tebow has also rejected offers from the Canadian Football League and USA Rugby. He reportedly only wants to return to the NFL if he has the chance to play quarterback.

Tebow was released by the New England Patriots last Saturday.

HARBAUGH TAKES ISSUE

San Francisco 49ers coach Jim Harbaugh does not like the way the NFL is interpreting the rule for hitting a quarterback on the read-option, calling the ruling “flawed and a bit biased.”

The issue gained publicity when Green Bay Packers linebacker Clay Matthews said this week the Packers plan to hit 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick on the read option in the opener based on what he had learned about the rules.

In an NFL rules video sent to reporters on Thursday, NFL vice president of officiating Dean Blandino said a quarterback can be hit even after he hands the ball off if he continues to carry out a fake and postures as if he’s running the ball.

EXTRA POINTS

Browns rookie linebacker Barkevious Mingo, the No. 6 overall pick in this year’s draft, will not play in the season opener as he continues to recover from a bruised lung. … Vikings rookie Sharrif Floyd will start against the Lions in place of star defensive tackle Kevin Williams who is not quite ready to return from a right knee injury.

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