June 27, 2013
Odin Lloyd: Alleged Aaron Hernandez Murder Victim Was Living Out Dream Of Playing Pro

Odin Lloyd loved football so much that he paid hundreds of dollars to be on a semi-pro team in Boston, but his gridiron dreams came to an end as police say he was murdered at the behest of former New England Patriots tight end Aaron Hernandez.

Police arrested Hernandez Wednesday and charged him with first-degree murder in the death of Lloyd. They claim that Hernandez drove Lloyd to the remote park where his body was later found, orchestrating the execution-style murder.

The murder reportedly stemmed from a disagreement the men had regarding Lloyd's behavior at a Boston club.

"There were certain things that had happened during the night that he was upset about and now didn't trust the victim," said First Assistant District Attorney Bill McCauley. "He told him one of the things he was made about. ... At the club the victim had spoken to a couple of people, and the defendant told him that he was upset about that because he had some troubles with those people."

Shortly after news of his arrest, Aaron Hernandez was cut by the New England Patriots.

Despite the tragic ending, Odin Lloyd shared much in common with Hernandez. Both grew up dreaming of playing in the NFL, and both followed their path to play the sport professionally.

Only for Lloyd, that meant spending hundreds of dollars of his own money to buy equipment so he could play in the semi-pro New England Football League. Lloyd got together with a group of high school friends, joining the Bandits in 2007 and becoming the core of the team.

Together they played alongside people who went back to full-time jobs after the games ended.

"It's a tremendous cross-section of people," said Tom Torrisi, CEO of the New England Football League. "Firefighters, dentists, accountants. These guys play for the love of the game and for the actual physical contact."

Lloyd was remembered as a good athlete who got along well with his teammates. Olivier Bustin, the team's head coach, said Lloyd had a great practice just hours before his murder, though he forgot his helmet when it was over.

Odin Lloyd's death was the latest in a sting of tragedies to befall the Boston Bandits. From Yahoo! NFL writer Eric Adelson:

"The Bandits have been hit by an inordinate amount of tragedy for a tiny team, according to its website. Derrick Rucker died in an electrical fire in 2002 and left behind a young daughter. Four years later, a Bandits rookie named Jeff Ibenewenka was murdered in Hyde Park, also leaving a daughter. Lineman Jason Mitchell died in 2008, two years after retiring from the Bandits. BJ Smith died in his sleep in 2009 at age 34, leaving behind a wife and two children. Cedric Warren was killed in a car accident last year. He also had a daughter."

Odin Lloyd died less than two weeks before the start of the New England Football League season. His team plans to pay tribute to him in the season opener against Brockton.