GAINESVILLE, Fla. (AP) - Ex-Florida and New England Patriots star Aaron Hernandez, jailed while awaiting trial in the killing of three men, is Mr. July in the Gators' 2014 sports calendar and is also seen in a photo carrying the pigskin in a Patriots calendar by the same company.
The school said Tuesday that officials approved the publication months before he was charged with murder, and the Patriots said they would not comment on matters involving Hernandez.
The calendars are still available for sale through Target.com and feature tight end No. 81 in the Gators' white jersey and blue pants with an orange stripe carrying the football under his right arm and almost looking into the camera. It includes his height, weight and hometown of Bristol, Connecticut.
In the Patriots calendar, Hernandez is seen holding the ball in red-gloved hands and wearing a dark blue jersey, silver pants and high socks. It's hard to tell from the Target ad in which month he is featured. It has the NFL and NFL Players Association logos on the back.
Hernandez started 29 games for the Gators between 2007-2009, catching 111 passes for 1,382 yards and 12 touchdowns, according to the team's website. He later went on to star for the Patriots, with 175 catches for nearly 2,000 yards and 18 TDs from 2010-2012.
After the 2012 season, on June 26, 2013, Hernandez was arrested in the slaying of Odin Lloyd, whose body was found in an industrial park about a half-mile from Hernandez's mansion in North Attleborough, Massachusetts. Hernandez faces a murder trial starting Oct. 6. Others also face charges in the case.
Officials approved the calendar last spring, months before the arrest, said Florida spokesman Daniel Apple. The calendars' maker, Turner Licensing, a division of Perfect Timing Inc., did not immediately respond to an email seeking comment.
Since then, the 24-year-old Hernandez has also been indicted on two counts of first-degree murder in the drive-by shooting of two other men, Daniel de Abreu and Safiro Furtado and faces trial next year. He has pleaded not guilty to all of the charges, and is in jail in Massachusetts.
Apple said the calendar was not produced by the university, but a third party. Since it's already been printed and distributed for sale, there's not much the school can do, Apple said.
"There are thousands of Gator products in the pipeline for approval at any given time and it's not common practice to re-review them once they have already been approved. We have since notified the licensee that it is no longer approved," he said.
He added that the school just became aware of the situation on Monday.
Apple says the school advised the calendar's maker that Florida no longer approves of the product, but that those already printed will not be recalled.
The calendar was first reported on Deadspin.com, and the official Florida Gators football Twitter feed responded, also saying the calendar was approved before Hernandez's legal troubles were widely known.
Former New England Patriots tight end Aaron Hernandez was billed in his college football days as the breakout star from the University of Florida. But there were early signs of trouble when he fell to the fourth round of the 2010 draft because of his admitted marijuana use and possible gang affiliation in his hometown of Bristol, Connecticut.
Cut to 2014, Hernandez is embroiled in two high-profile legal battles where he has been implicated in a double homicide from 2012 and the June 2013 slaying of a semi-professional football player found dead near the ex-footballer's home in Massachusetts.
Here is a timeline of events in the two investigations:
July 16, 2012. Two men, Daniel de Abreu and Safiro Furtado, are shot to death in a car as they wait for a red light in Boston's South End neighborhood.
Aug. 27, 2012. Hernandez signs a five-year, $40 million contract with the Patriots.
February 2013. Alexander Bradley, a Hernandez associate, is shot in the face in Florida.
June 17, 2013. A jogger running through an industrial park finds the body of Odin Lloyd, a semi-professional football player who was dating the sister of Hernandez's girlfriend, about a mile from Hernandez's mansion in North Attleborough, Massachusetts.
June 18, 2013. Hernandez greets his Twitter followers with a "good morning" tweet. This is the last tweet Hernandez sends before his legal issues arise. By the end of the day, police descend on Hernandez's home, while another group of officers search the industrial park where the jogger discovered Odin's body.
— Aaron Hernandez (@AaronHernandez) June 18, 2013
June 19, 2013. The Bristol County district attorney's office says the state medical examiner ruled Lloyd's death a homicide. Separately, Bradley files a lawsuit claiming Hernandez shot him in the face after they argued at a strip club in Miami in February.
June 21, 2013. Muscle Milk maker CytoSport says it is ending Hernandez's endorsement contract because of the investigation. The Hernandez investigation leads officers to a Providence strip club, but police won't say what they were doing there. Family members say Hernandez and Lloyd were together the night Lloyd died.
June 22, 2013. State police return to Hernandez's home with dogs to conduct an additional search.
June 23, 2013. Officers in wetsuits search the woods near Hernandez's home.
June 24, 2013. Authorities arrest Hernandez take him from his home in handcuffs. The Patriots release him hours after his arrest.
June 27, 2013. A judge denies Hernandez's request for bail.
July 6, 2013. Hernandez's friend Ernest Wallace is arraigned on a charge of accessory of murder after the fact. Prosecutors say Hernandez, Wallace and another man drove with Lloyd to an industrial park where Lloyd was fatally shot.
July 25, 2013. A judge releases to the press sealed documents that include surveillance photos showing Hernandez in basement holding what authorities said is a gun. The images were captured hours before and minutes after Lloyd was shot.
August 22, 2013. A grand jury indicts Hernandez on a murder charge in connection to Odin's killing.
September 6, 2013. Hernandez pleadst agai not guilty to a first-degree murder charge. He firmly pleads "not guilty" to six charges total, including murder and weapons and ammunition possession charges.
October 15, 2013. Hernandez's former fiancée Shayanna Jenkins is arraigned in Massachusetts on a perjury charge related to the testimony she gave the Bristol County grand jury hearing evidence in the Lloyd case. Evidence showed that Jenkins was in the house that she shared with Hernandez when he called and asked her to remove and discard a box that was in their basement.
December 16, 2013. Odin Lloyd's family files a wrongful death lawsuinst Hernandez.
January 8, 2014. A newly released search warrant indicates that Boston authorities identified Hernandez as a suspect in the 2012 homicide of Daniel de Abreu and Safiro Furtado, who were killed shortly after they left a nightclub with three other friends. Surveillance footage shows Hernandez and Bradley at the same Boston nightclub, The Hartford Courant reported.
February 3, 2014. Bradley is shot again, this time outside a Connecticut nightclub.
May 1, 2014. Hernandez is indicted in an alleged jail assault in February and an alleged threat to do bodily harm last November.
May 15, 2014. Hernandez is indicted on two counts of first-degree murder and other charges in connection with the shootings of Abreu and Furtado. His lawyers say he is innocent of the charges.
June 21, 2014. Hernandez is taken to St. Luke's Hospital in New Bedford for an undisclosed problem.
June 24, 2014. Hernandez in court for the Abreu and Furtado murder case.