According to a story in today's Boston Globe, Florida and now Patriots TE Aaron Hernandez fell into the 4th round of the NFL Draft due to admitting to smoking weed and multiple positive drug tests while in Gainesville. One source close to Hernandez said he knew of only one positive test, while a "longtime executive" said Hernandez failed up to six tests. Three NFL sources were interviewed, confirming that Hernandez admitted to using weed.
Hernandez did not play this season against Florida International. The reason given for that absence was that, "he was not ready to play," according to Urban Meyer. Other than that, there was no regular season games missed that might have been the result of a suspension. Hernandez's alleged failed tests are being reported a few months after Sports Illustrated reported that up to a third of possible 1st round picks had a history of smoking weed. The multiple failed tests was enough to make the All-American tight end a 4th rounder, costing him millions of dollars.
This speaks to the fact that there is a huge gap in what is considered ok for my generation and our parents' generation in terms of drug use. I knew people in college who smoked because it was better than prescriptions for migraines, stress or other ailments. To people 30-40 years older, weed was for criminals and stoners, not football players and college students. For Hernandez and Percy Harvin before him, smoking weed might have been bad, but not enough to not do it. Especially if it was medicinal, as might have been the case with Harvin's migraines and Hernandez's stress after the loss of his father. That's not an excuse, just the reality of how this generation looks at smoking weed.
It is not surprising a college player fails a drug test and it is important to note that Hernandez did not fail his NFL drug test. But it is surprising that the player might have failed multiple tests, with possibly only one game lost for for disciplinary reasons. Meyer is only a hard ass to reporters, choosing to punish his players within practice, not with game suspensions. Meyer also is soft when it comes to punishment if he thinks the player has made a mistake or Meyer thinks he can fix him. This goes back to the suspension and expulsion of Avery Atkins, who died of a drug overdose a year after he was kicked out of school. Meyer thinks he can reach players by being a steady hand, not one that slaps them down.
While many more words will connect this to Meyer, he won't change because he thinks he has been successful. Ultimately, Hernandez has himself to blame. Hopefully, he will grow up and learn what was acceptable on a college campus is not acceptable in the professional world.