Ohio State coach Urban Meyer has kept quiet about the drama surrounding former New England Patriots tight end Aaron Hernandez. Until now.
Meyer, who coached Hernandez for three years at the University of Florida from 2007 to 2009, broke his silence Saturday to address how his program handled the former tight end now charged with first-degree murder in the slaying of Odin Lloyd.
"Prayers and thoughts are with the family and friends of the victim," Meyer texted The Columbus Dispatch and also The Gainesville Sun. "Relating or blaming these serious charges to the University of Florida, myself or our staff is wrong and irresponsible."
Meyer dismissed reports that Hernandez failed multiple drug tests and received special treatment at Florida, telling the newspapers those inaccuracies were the catalyst for him coming forward.
"I just received an email from a friend where there is an accusation of multiple failed drug tests by Hernandez covered up by University of Florida or the coaching staff. This is absolutely not true," Meyer texted. "Hernandez was held to the same drug testing policy as every other player."
Wrote Meyer: "He was an athlete at Florida 4-7 yrs ago and there are some comments being made that are not correct. Our staff, myself and our families worked very hard to mentor and guide (Hernandez)."
Beyond rumors of drug use, the Gainesville (Fla.) Police Department this week released a 2007 incident report from a double shooting in which multiple Florida players, including Hernandez, were questioned.
The 2007 shooting occurred when Hernandez was a 17-year-old freshman. Two men were wounded, including one who was shot in the back of the head. The police report, in which Hernandez's name was redacted, indicated that the pair of victims were shot inside a car after leaving a nightclub. An eyewitness said there were two shooters, including a "Hawaiian" or "Hispanic" with a muscular build and "a lot of tattoos."
Meyer on Saturday did not immediately address the shooting.
UPDATE: In a later conversation with The Sun, Meyer talked about the 2007 shooting. Meyer said that an assistant told him the players were questioned as witnesses, and "I didn't think about it again until a couple of days ago."
Follow Marc Sessler on Twitter @MarcSesslerNFL.