The Roxbury (Mass.) John O’Bryant School of Math and Science has scheduled a football game to honor erstwhile star Odin Lloyd, the alleged murder victim of former New England Patriots tight end Aaron Hernandez, according to The Boston Globe.
"We're going to try to do it nice and big, maybe release some doves," O’Bryant assistant coach Mike Branch, who coached Lloyd on the Tigers last decade, told the paper.
O'Bryant will host rival Jeremiah E. Burke (Dorchester, Mass.) High on Sept. 27, when the the Tigers plan to celebrate the linebacker who nearly led them to a Super Bowl in 2004 before missing his senior season because of academic issues, The Globe reported.
Of course, questions about Lloyd's relationship with Hernandez range from drug dealing to gang affiliation after the 27-year-old Dorchester man's body was found filled with bullets a mile from the NFL Pro Bowler's home last month in North Attleborough, Mass.
Still, Branch and Burke coach Byron Beaman, who also previously served as an assistant at O'Bryant, are confident going forth with a memorial game that will likely be played before the Hernandez trial begins. If sordid details about Lloyd's character emerge later, the coaches will reconsider making the contest an annual event, the paper said.
"In the few years that I knew Odin I had yet to see him drive a car. He used to drive his bike to practice," Branch, also a chief probation officer, told The Globe. "If he was a self-made drug dealer extortioner, he was doing a good job covering it up."
Branch, who also coached Lloyd on the semipro Boston Bandits until the days leading up to his death, cited his former player's landscaping job and the fact he still owed dues to the Bandits as further arguments against Lloyd's rumored drug dealing. The Bandits also planned to honor Lloyd at a game this summer.
Lloyd's sister, mother and several other family members are expected to attend the O'Bryant-Burke matchup, according to the report. He was reportedly dating the sister of Hernandez's fiancé, but she was not mentioned among the potential attendees.
“We’ll see what happens,” Beaman told The Globe. “But we do know he’s not here and a guy who had $40 million is in jail because of it, which is something I can’t fathom. You have $40 million reasons not to. I don’t care what was done (to you) ... you just don’t get yourself wrapped up in something like this when you are a pro athlete.”
Both coaches plan to use the alleged murder "as a cautionary tale" for their prep players.