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Patriots Owner Robert Kraft Testifies in Aaron Hernandez Trial

New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft testified in a Fall River, Massachusetts, court that his former player Aaron Hernandez offered him an alibi to the accusation that he murdered Odin Lloyd.

“He said he hoped that the time of the incident became public because he was at a club at that time,” Kraft, whose voice sounded as though he had been in a club last night, said of a private conversation with the team’s hybrid tight end. Hernandez, as cell-phone records and his own video surveillance as well as that of a gas station shows, was not in a club around the time of Lloyd’s murder.

“I asked him whether he knew the victim,” Kraft recalled of the conversation, saying that his player affirmed that he did. The four-time Super Bowl-winning owner said that Hernandez characterized his acquaintanceship with Lloyd as “a social relationship because he was the boyfriend of his fiancee’s sister.”

The Patriots owner, suffering from a head cold as he discussed his headache, said his player hugged and kissed him at their June 19, 2013 meeting. He flatly denied killing Lloyd. Kraft admitted that coverage of the crime bothered him.

The day after meeting with Hernandez at Gillette Stadium Kraft barred the player from the team’s facilities.

The 73-year-old paper and packaging industrialist couldn’t cite Hernandez’s college team, noting that he had played at the school “wherever Urban Meyer” coaches. He contended that the defendant showed respect around the team’s complex in Foxboro. And said he couldn’t recollect how many years Hernandez played for the Patriots.

In three seasons in New England, Hernandez caught 175 balls for 1,956 yards and 18 touchdowns. His speed at his size gave the Patriots great versatility, allowing the team to split him outside the numbers, line him up tight next to the tackle, and even play him out of the backfield on occasion. He caught a touchdown in his lone Super Bowl appearance and created a nightmare scenario for opposing coaches in making them pay for double-teaming fellow tight end Rob Gronkowski and through his unpredictability in positioning.

Kraft did not appear to make eye contact with his former player as he departed the courtroom in a very mechanical, almost military-like gait. Hernandez trained his eyes on him, cranking his neck around to watch his former boss exit before whispering several times to his lawyer.

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