EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. — In the wake of a report that former NFL player Aaron Hernandez suffered from the degenerative brain disease C.T.E., his friend Mike Pouncey was asked for his reaction on Sunday.
“I guess surprised in a way, but I mean, it’s real,” said Pouncey, a center for the Miami Dolphins. “It definitely is. It’s hard because you can’t see any signs of that stuff before. And obviously you have to be dead for them to test your brain for that. So it’s tough. But I mean that doesn’t. That’s tough. That’s not something that’s in the back of my mind. But that’s tough for anybody.”
Pouncey’s injury history has been primarily focused on his hips. Pouncey recently emotionally expressed how important it was to him to return to the NFL after not knowing if injuries would derail his career.
According to the report, Hernandez, a former New England Patriot who played with Pouncey at the University of Florida, had such a severe form of C.T.E. that the damage was akin to that of players well into their 60s.
Pouncey has said that while he does not condone the alleged actions of his close friend, he maintains loyalty to those he considers family members. Thus, Pouncey attended Hernandez’s funeral after Hernandez committed suicide while in prison following a conviction of murder.