Bill Belichick defers questions about new Aaron Hernandez suit

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Lawyer: Aaron Hernandez had 'severe case of CTE'

He was 27 years old.

"The brain lesions noted on autopsy could be compatible with the psychiatric features, although the mechanism is unknown", said Dr. Luca Giliberto of the Litwin-Zucker Research Center for Alzheimer's Disease and Memory Disorders at the Feinstein Institute for Medical Research in Manhasset, New York.

Presumably, all he's interested in is dragging the National Football League into court - and its Commissioner Roger Goodell and possibly, Bill Belichick, the notoriously tight-lipped New England Patriots coach - to pry open files and medical charts and expose their thinking to the world.

Upon examination of former Florida TE Aaron Hernandez's brain, it was found that the ex-New England Patriot already had a significant level of CTE, which comes from repeated brain injuries. His death stunned his friends and fans, coming just five days after he was acquitted of a separate 2012 double homicide. Hernandez was convicted and sentenced to life in prison; the conviction was voided because he died before his appeals were exhausted, though that ruling is itself being appealed. Jose Baez, Attorney for Hernandez family, saying: "Not only were the results positive, but we're told that it was the most severe case for someone of Aaron's age".

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Hernandez did not raise CTE in his defense at either trial because he claimed actual innocence. It seeks $20 million in damages for loss of parental support.

Indeed, in a conference call with reporters on Friday, Joe Lockhart, a spokesman for the league, said that the N.F.L. would "vigorously" fight the suit and that the Hernandez family would "face significant legal issues".

Since it was first discovered in 2002 in the post-mortem brain of Pittsburgh Steeler star Mike Webster, the disease has been found in the brains of an increasing number of dead football players, most notably those who were in the NFL.

Hopefully players continue to share their thoughts and experiences with as much honesty as Carter did, because no matter which side you fall on, the conversation is important - and we all still have a lot to learn.

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He played three seasons with the Patriots, earning a $40 million contract.

The diagnosis comes from a Boston University researcher who has studied hundreds of brains from football players, college athletes and even younger players, donated after their deaths.

While not an excuse, one has to wonder if CTE was a factor in Hernandez's outrageous decision to kill Odin Lloyd and then himself.

Now the question that everyone's asking is whether it's worth it to play football.

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"If we knew more about it", he said.

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