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Barely an hour after police had Aaron Hernandez arrested in connection with a possible homicide this month, the NFL star is officially out of a job.

The New England Patriots released him, calling it the “right thing to do.”

The 23-year-old was a rising star with the Patriots, having agreed to a five-year, $40 million contract last summer. But the team felt it had little choice.

Aaron Hernandez for New England
(Getty Images)

The Patriots said in a statement regarding Aaron Hernandez’s release:


“A young man was murdered last week and we extend our sympathies to the family and friends who mourn his loss.”

“Words cannot express the disappointment we feel knowing that one of our players was arrested as a result of this investigation.”

“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.”

Officials have not announced what Hernandez has been charged with.

That should be revealed when Hernandez appears in court for his arraignment, but obstruction of justice related to the homicide investigation is likely.

Odin Lloyd, 27, a semipro football player, was found dead June 17.

His body was discovered in an industrial park by a nighttime jogger, about a half-mile from Hernandez’s home, and police ruled the death a homicide.

Lloyd’s family members said that Lloyd, who was shot in the head, and Aaron Hernandez were friends who had been together the previous day.

ABC News reported that Hernandez destroyed his phone and video surveillance system and had his home professionally cleaned the same day.

Police have searched the residence on multiple occasions.

UPDATE: Hernandez has been charged with murder in Lloyd’s death. He pleaded not guilty at his arraignment this afternoon. Story developing