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Trending that has caught Doug's eye: NFL bad boys

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Things just keep getting worse for Aaron Hernandez.

The former New England Patriots all-pro tight end is sitting in jail facing first-degree murder charges after prosecutors said he "orchestrated and carried out" the execution-style slaying of a friend, semi-pro football player Odin Lloyd, 27, on June 17.

Less than two hours after his arrest on June 26, the Patriots dropped Hernandez like a dirty shirt, along with his five-year, $40-million contract extension. Hernandez has pleaded not guilty and is being held without bail.

On the upside, Hernandez can at least look forward to having company behind bars, because he is far from the first NFL player to step out of bounds with the law. According to Time.com, since the Super Bowl in early February, 31 NFL players have been arrested by police.

It would be impossible to list all the NFL's outlaws, but here are five of the most memorable:

5) Thomas "Hollywood" Henderson -- One of the biggest egos in the history of the NFL, Henderson earned his nickname for his flamboyant play and high-visibility lifestyle. In 1979, the Dallas Cowboys dumped him because of drug problems. In 1983, he hit bottom when he was arrested for smoking crack with two teenage girls. At the time, police said he threatened the girls with a gun and sexually assaulted one of them, earning two years and four months in prison.

In 2000, his fortunes changed dramatically when he won a Lotto Texas $28-million jackpot. Asked by the Dallas Morning News what he does each day having won the lottery, he famously replied: "Not a damn thing, and I don't start that until after lunch."

4) Plaxico Burress -- In the 2008 Super Bowl, the 6-5 wide receiver caught the game-winning touchdown pass, leading his New York Giants to a stunning 17-14 upset victory over the Patriots. Later that year, in a New York nightclub, he shot himself in the leg when a pistol tucked in the waistband of his pants began sliding down his leg and, in reaching for the weapon, he accidentally pulled the trigger.

"I lost two years but the main thing about it, I persevered through it when a lot of people thought I was finished," the NFL's worst marksman told a Pittsburgh newspaper after re-signing recently with the Steelers.

3) Adam "Pacman" Jones -- This legendary NFL scofflaw flirted briefly with the Winnipeg Blue Bombers in 2009, even though, as my colleague Ed Tait said at the time, he had more red flags on his resum© than a Moscow May Day Parade. Now a Cincinnati Bengal, Pacman has rung up at least seven arrests over the years and involvement in about a dozen incidents drawing police intervention. He recently pleaded not guilty to a charge of hitting a woman outside a nightclub on June 5. And last year, he was ordered to pay $11 million to two Las Vegas strip-club workers who were wounded in 2007 when a gunman, who claimed he was following Jones's orders, opened fire after Jones and his entourage were kicked out. The shooter is in prison, but Pacman worked out a plea to misdemeanour conspiracy to commit disorderly conduct.

We're relieved he never wore the blue and gold but wouldn't be surprised to see him in prison stripes.

2) Michael Vick -- One of the most divisive figures in modern sports, the Atlanta Falcons quarterback was suspended in 2007 after pleading guilty to a federal conspiracy charge of bankrolling a dogfighting operation. He was sentenced to 23 months in federal prison. Not long after being released in 2009, he was dumped by the Falcons and signed by the Philadelphia Eagles. With a six-year, $100-million contract in his pocket, Vick has condemned dogfighting, but drawn howls of outrage from his critics.

1) O.J. Simpson -- There's not a lot left to wring out of the Juice's legal saga, but here goes: Nineteen years ago, on June 17, 1994, we were all captivated as the ex-Heisman Trophy winner and pro football Hall of Famer led police on a wild car chase around Los Angeles. He was acquitted of the 1994 murder of his ex-wife, Nicole Brown Simpson, and her friend, Ronald Goldman, after one of the most publicized criminal trials in history. He began looking for the real killers, who apparently lived on a golf course. In 2007, a civil court awarded a $33.5-million wrongful-death judgment against him. In 2007, he was back in trouble, getting arrested and later convicted on charges of armed robbery and kidnapping for a Las Vegas hotel-room raid. He is serving nine to 33 years in a Nevada prison, but has appealed for a new trial.

The final score: With so many NFL stars behind bars, there might be a few familiar faces wherever Aaron Hernandez ends up, unless his lawyers really know how to play defence.

doug.speirs@freepress.mb.ca

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition July 13, 2013 D2

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