Report: Tebow tried to stop Hernandez fight
Patriots quarterback Tim Tebow tried to prevent former New England tight end Aaron Hernandez from getting into a fight at a Gainesville bar in 2007, while they were teammates at the University of Florida, the Orlando Sentinel reported.
Tebow, whose name was not included in the first report, told police that he urged the then-17-year-old Hernandez to leave peacefully after Hernandez consumed two drinks but refused to pay for them. Tebow offered to pay the disputed bill, according to the report.
Employee Michael Taphorn became angry with Hernandez and yelled at him, the report said. As he turned to walk away, Hernandez punched Taphorn in the side of the head. Taphorn saw a doctor the next day and was diagnosed with a ruptured eardrum, according to the incident report.
When police arrived at the scene and could not find Hernandez, they interviewed Tebow about the incident, the Orlando Sentinel reported. According to police records obtained by the newspaper, Tebow said he witnessed the dispute and tried to "help resolve the conflict." The report noted that Tebow and Hernandez told police they had notified then-coach Urban Meyer of the incident.
The Sentinel reported that police caught up with Hernandez two hours later to speak with him about the incident. The officer who interviewed him wrote that Hernandez was "polite and professional," and did not appear to be intoxicated, the Sentinel reported.
Taphorn initially told police he wanted to pursue charges against Hernandez but he later had second thoughts, according to the report. Taphorn said he had been contacted by legal staff and Florida coaches about a possible agreement in the case.
A source told ESPN the administration didn't know whether Meyer or anyone from his staff met with Taphorn. A Florida spokesperson told ESPN.com's Andy Katz onTuesday night that "No one from the university's general counsel's office was involved in this matter."
Although police recommended a felony assault charge, no charges were ever filed.
Hernandez, now 23, is facing a first-degree murder charge in the slaying of 27-year-old semi-pro football player Odin Lloyd. He has pleaded not guilty and is being held without bail.
Police also are looking at a possible connection that Hernandez was involved in a double homicide in Boston in July 2012.
In an exploration of Hernandez's past and his relationship with Lloyd, ESPN.com's Elizabeth Merrill learned that Tebow, who was a sophomore at the time of the alleged bar incident, had previously hosted Hernandez on a recruiting visit and at one point was close with the tight end.
John Hevesy, who was Hernandez's positional coach at the University of Florida, told ESPN.com that Tebow had reached out to Hernandez but no mentorship was struck.
"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. 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. 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."
Information from ESPN.com's Elizabeth Merrill and Andy Katz was used in this report.
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