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Aaron Hernandez denies gang involvement

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Aaron Hernandez reportedly denies being in a gang (USA Today Sports Images)

Former New England Patriots tight end Aaron Hernandez denies being involved with a street gang, Bristol County Sheriff Thomas Hodgson said, according to Christine McConville of the Boston Herald.

Hernandez has been charged with first-degree murder in the death of 27-year-old Odin Lloyd and has been held without bail in the Bristol County House of Corrections. Hernandez is a "high-profile" inmate and for his own protection, and for the safety of staff and other inmates, Hodgson's staff has examined the many tattoos on Hernandez's body for signs of gang activity.

"He talked to our gang investigators and said he didn’t have any involvement," Hodgson said on Monday. "We always take extra precautions. We don’t have any definite issues at this point, but we’re still being very cautious."

Shortly after his arrest, a photo surfaced on TMZ.com of a high school-aged Hernandez flashing what appears to be gang signs. Hernandez also has "blood" tattooed on his right hand, but that word appears to be part of the larger phrase "blood sweat tears".

Thus far, Hodgson says the 23-year-old Hernandez has been a "model inmate", despite being a first-time inmate having to adjust from living in a 7,100-square foot home to a 7-by-10-foot cell.

"He’s been very polite, very respectful. He doesn’t seem nervous, which is unusual for someone who’s never been incarcerated before," said Hodgson. "He now has three hours out of his cell each day. That’s an hour outside, by himself, an hour to shower and make phone calls, and another hour to see visitors."

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