Way back in 2007, before Tim Tebow was an evangelical sensation and Aaron Hernandez was a murder suspect, the future New England Patriots were teammates at the University of Florida.
In reports that recently resurfaced, Tebow, then a sophomore, tried to break up a fight between then 17-year-old Hernandez and a bar employee at the Swamp in Gainsville.
According to the police report, Hernandez had two drinks and then refused to pay for them, telling the server he didn't order them. Tebow reportedly tried to pay for the drinks, and urged Hernandez to leave.
Instead, the manager, Michael Taphorn, got Hernandez's fist in his ear. Police interviewed Hernandez about two hours after the incident, around 3 a.m., when he maintained that he had not ordered the drinks.
Taphorn reportedly refused to seek medical assistance at the scene, and later decided not to pursue felony battery charges against Hernandez.
Tebow reportedly tried, and failed, to position himself as a mentor for Hernandez, said Hernandez's positional coach at Florida John Hevesy.
"Tim struggled with [others'] immaturity," Hevesy said, "Like, 'Why aren't you doing this the way I do it?'"
"Kids are kids. I think it's not as much Aaron as it was Timmy," Hevesy said. "Timmy was a very mature 18-year-old. If you take a poll of 10 18-year-olds, 'What are the first three things on your mind?' OK, first is going to be women, second's going to be this and third's going to be this. Tim's going to be, 'Well, God, God and God.'"
"Were they still close? Yes," Hevesy recalled. "But I think 18-year-olds want to do what 18-year-olds want to do, and Tim was more of a 22-year-old."
The fight, along with a 2007 shooting in Florida after a football game between the Gators and Auburn University, have seen renewed interest since Hernandez was arrested in connection to the murder of Odin Lloyd in Massachusetts last week.