Aaron Hernandez's downward spiral

Willie Grace | 1/6/2015, 10:21 a.m. | Updated on 1/6/2015, 10:21 a.m.
Days after he was found dead, then-NFL star Aaron Hernandez was arrested and charged with murder. Jury selection in the ...
Days after he was found dead, then-NFL star Aaron Hernandez was arrested and charged with murder. Jury selection in the case against Hernandez begins this week. Hernandez also faces murder charges in a 2012 double homicide. He has pleaded not guilty.

(CNN) -- More than 18 months ago, the body of Odin Lloyd was found in an industrial park in North Attleboro, Massachusetts. Lloyd had been shot seven times near a pile of construction waste.

The semipro football player for the Boston Bandits was 27.

Days after he was found dead, then-NFL star Aaron Hernandez was arrested and charged with murder. Jury selection in the case against Hernandez begins this week. Hernandez also faces murder charges in a 2012 double homicide. He has pleaded not guilty.

The charges mark the latest turn in Hernandez's downward spiral. Just two years ago, he was one of the NFL's most promising tight ends, inking a $40-million contract extension with the New England Patriots.

Friends and fans alike wonder: How could the star player who had more than 900 receiving yards in 2011 now be on trial for murder?

From 'golden boy' to behind bars

Long before Hernandez made national headlines, he was a standout athlete in Bristol, Connecticut, who came from a family described as a local sports dynasty.

"I don't think there was another family that was more familiar in Bristol," Bob Montgomery, who covers high school sports for the Bristol Press, told CNN.

The young Hernandez was the "golden boy," playing football, basketball and running track, following in the footsteps of his uncle, older brother and father -- all well-known athletes in the community.

Hernandez's father constantly pushed his son, requiring him to practice for hours before he could go out with friends.

"I saw a closeness with them that I'd never seen before," Montgomery said of the relationship between Hernandez and his father.

But his father, the man who kept the 16-year-old anchored, died from complications after a routine surgery.

Hernandez left high school halfway through his senior year in January 2007 to join the University of Florida Gators, and trouble seemed to follow.

In just his first semester, a police report says Hernandez got into a fight at an off-campus restaurant, sucker-punching the manager and rupturing his eardrum.

The following fall, there was a shooting near a local club. Police reports link Hernandez and several other University of Florida football players to an argument in the parking lot.

Hernandez was one of more than 20 people interviewed by police, and he was the only one who did not make a statement after invoking his right to counsel.

At the time, Hernandez's mother told the Orlando Sentinel newspaper, "I know he was at the club, but he never saw any shooting."

The case remains open, and no one has been charged.

Hernandez was also suspended at least once for marijuana, an issue that would follow him as he entered the draft his junior year.

Trying to put the alleged drug use behind him, Hernandez wrote a letter to the Patriots director of personnel.

"If you draft me as a member of the New England Patriots, I will willfully submit to a bi-weekly drug test throughout my rookie season. ... In addition, I will tie any guaranteed portion of my 2010 compensation to these drug tests and reimburse the team a pro-rata amount for any failed drug test," he wrote, according to the Boston Globe.