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Aaron Hernandez clears waivers, NFL issues statement on his status

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Aaron Hernandez cleared waivers on Thursday (USA Today Sports Images)

As expected, former New England Patriots tight end Aaron Hernandez cleared waivers on Thursday, with no team opting to claim him, the six years that remained on his contract, or invite a public relations nightmare that would have undoubtedly accompanied adding an individual accused of first-degree murder to their roster.

Under normal circumstances, a player clearing waivers would become a street free agent who could be signed by any team. NFL teams were advised on Thursday that no contract agreement with Hernandez would be approved by the league office until after NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell meets with the 2010 fourth-round pick out of Florida.

"NFL clubs were advised today that if Aaron Hernandez enters into a player contract prior to the resolution of the charges pending against him, the contract will not be approved or take effect until Commissioner Roger Goodell holds a hearing," the league announced in a statement. "The purpose of the hearing would be to determine whether Hernandez should be suspended or face other action prior to the charges being resolved."

Of course, the events that took place in Fall River (Mass.) Superior Court on Thursday afternoon rendered moot the memo that was distributed to NFL teams. Hernandez was denied bail and will remain behind bars until his trial, which might not begin for another year. Though Hernandez is innocent until proven guilty, it's doubtful that any team would even consider an attempt to retain Hernandez's rights until after he is exonerated of the murder charge.

In other Hernandez contract news, ESPN's Darren Rovell reports that Puma has terminated the two-year deal it had signed Hernandez to in April. The German-based athletic shoe and sportswear company has a large presence in Massachusetts. The company's North American headquarters are in Westford, Mass., which is located less than an hour north of the Patriots' headquarters in Foxboro, Mass.

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