(Photo: Reuters/Mike George)
In a letter written from inside a correctional facility, former New England Patriots tight end Aaron Hernandez who is accused of first-degree murder writes that God has a plan for him and that something positive will happen as the result of his circumstance.
"I know everything happens for a reason and I know 'God' has a plan for me and something good will come out of this," Hernandez states in his letter to a pen-pal who in turn gave a copy to TMZ. The celebrity-gossip TV show and website published the letter on Thursday, saying it had been verified with law enforcement officials as authentic.
The former University of Florida player is in a cell in the Bristol County House of Corrections in Massachusetts, while he awaits his trial in the murder case involving the execution-style shooting of Odin Lloyd. He has pleaded not guilty.
Hernandez, who writes in the letter about "false accusations" and "haters" being proven wrong when he believes he will be proven not guilty, also writes about maintaining a good attitude.
"I've always been a great person and known for having an amazing heart! I am a strong person and nothing will break me!" He adds, "I know there is a reason I'm going thru this and I will figure it out through my relationship with the Lord.
"I fell off especially after making all that money but when it's all said and done 'GOD' put me in the situation for a reason! I'm humbled by this ALREADY and this will change me forever."
TMZ reports that the fan who received the letter, called "TMZ Live" and said he wrote Hernandez first.
Karl (first name only given in article) told TMZ that he sent the letter to Hernandez "because he was in the same jail 15 years ago, and wanted to reach out to Hernandez to give him some encouragement."
However, ironically, Karl released the letter, which is available in its entirety at TMZ.com, despite an asterisk followed by a statement by Hernandez near the bottom that reads, "Keep this off social media PLEASE!"
Also on Thursday, USA Today reported that former NFL coach Tony Dungy, an evangelical Christian who since retiring has visited prisons and counseled inmates, is willing to talk to Hernandez.
"My approach is guys who request the help, I'm glad to do it, but I have not at this point," Dungy told USA Today Sports. "I find it's the people who want help that respond best."
Dungy was asked if he felt the Patriots, who dumped Hernandez after his arrest, should reach out to Hernandez. Pats owner Robert Kraft said he felt "duped" by Hernandez who promised to mature after landing a contract for $40 million, according to USA Today.
"I don't think you ever turn your back on anyone," Dungy said. "Of course, (Hernandez) has to want the help. That's the biggest thing. A lot of guys want the help. It's a matter of where he is (emotionally).
"Any player we ever had in Tampa Bay or Indianapolis, if they wanted the help, we'd be there. And I'm sure the Patriots would be there, if Aaron wants that."