Dan Wetzel

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Dan Wetzel is an award-winning sportswriter, author and screenwriter. He has covered all levels of basketball as well as college football, the NFL, MLB and NHL. He is the co-author of the book "Death to the BCS: The Definitive Case Against the Bowl Championship Series," which following five printings of the first edition was re-released in a second, updated edition in October.

  • Witness: I don't like Aaron Hernandez's 'arrogance'

    Kasey Arma testifies in the murder trial of Aaron Hernandez. (AP)Kasey Arma testifies in the murder trial of Aaron Hernandez. (AP)FALL RIVER, Mass. – Kasey Arma was the 100th witness called thus far by the prosecution in the murder trial of former New England Patriot Aaron Hernandez.

    Ostensibly, the 27-year-old woman was brought here to claim that Hernandez seemed "agitated" when they interacted at a Boston nightclub in the early morning hours of June 15, 2013 – two days before Odin Lloyd was killed.

    The Commonwealth has suggested that Hernandez was upset with Lloyd that night at Rumor nightclub and has claimed that as a motive for the shooting. That concept is still tenuous, and Arma's opinion on the mental state of a man she had briefly met in a loud club really didn't add much to it.

    More likely, Arma's main purpose was to testify about Hernandez hitting on her, dancing with her and even propositioning her, another attempt to portray him to his fiancée, Shayanna Jenkins, as someone who doesn't reciprocate loyalty.

    Jenkins has yet to flip on Hernandez. She has been given an immunity deal, if she's called to

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  • Aaron Hernandez's defense bristles over recorded jailhouse phone calls

    Aaron Hernandez sits with attorney Charles Rankin. (AP)Aaron Hernandez sits with attorney Charles Rankin. (AP)FALL RIVER, Mass. – Aaron Hernandez understood that anything and everything he said into the phone at the Bristol County (Mass.) House of Corrections would be recorded, reprinted and potentially used against him.

    "Hey, [watch] what you say," he told his aunt, Tanya Singleton. "The phone is recorded."

    "I know, I know, I know," she said back.

    So the select transcripts of 23 conversations Hernandez had with Singleton, live-in girlfriend Shayanna Jenkins and others, including Mike Pouncey, a former Florida Gator teammate and current Miami Dolphin, were controlled, careful and mostly innocuous.

    Some of them, though, are rather telling. And if nothing else, the prosecution may have wanted them admitted into evidence just to get them made public and potentially drive a wedge into the Hernandez camp, of which any defection could seal the murder case against the former New England Patriots star.

    Hernandez is on trial here at Bristol County Superior Court for the June 17, 2013, murder of Odin

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  • Aaron Hernandez's innocence rests on jury believing amazing coincidences

    Aaron Hernandez purchased this home in 2012. (Yahoo Sports)Aaron Hernandez purchased this home in 2012. (Yahoo Sports)NORTH ATTLEBORO, Mass. – There are two wholesome white rocking chairs on the front porch of the dream home here that Aaron Hernandez owns but no longer lives in.

    One chair is sized for an adult, the other for a child. As a cold, heavy wind swept through on Wednesday afternoon, the chairs rocked quickly, as if a couple of ghosts were sitting in them, pushing them back and forth.

    Two is all that's needed now in the house where Hernandez's fiancée Shayanna Jenkins and the couple's 2-year-old daughter reside, what with dad off in jail.

    It's a heck of a place Hernandez bought back in 2012, dropping $1.3 million on its 7,100 square feet, five bedrooms, six baths and of course the pool guarded by thick woods out back. All of it sits in the upscale Westwood Heights subdivision, seemingly far from whatever old life and old dangers Hernandez should have been leaving behind in Bristol, Conn.

    An ADT Security sign sits ironically in a front flowerbed, an effort to scare off any criminals before

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  • Aaron Hernandez's best defense may be his own erratic behavior

    Kwami Nicholas testifies during the murder trial of Aaron Hernandez. (REUTERS)Kwami Nicholas testifies during the murder trial of Aaron Hernandez. (REUTERS)FALL RIVER, Mass. – The prosecution put a college kid on the stand here Tuesday. Kwami Nicholas is a history and political science major at Bridgewater State, 30 miles south of Boston. He pays some bills with a part-time job at a movie theater.

    Nicholas seems like a nice guy, an Antiguan immigrant trying to tackle life with a bright, easy smile. He managed to become a star witness in the Commonwealth's murder case against former New England Patriots star Aaron Hernandez for two reasons:

    1. Back in June of 2013, just after turning 21, Nicholas was inside a Boston nightclub at the same time as Hernandez and Odin Lloyd, the latter of whom he was acquainted with through mutual friends.

    2. The prosecution appears desperate to establish some kind of motive for why Hernandez would, about 48 hours later, kill Lloyd, as it alleges.

    This is the part of the case with which the Commonwealth has struggled. A mountain of evidence has established the who, the what, the where, the when and the how.

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  • Will Aaron Hernandez's fiancée testify against him?

    Shayanna Jenkins faces perjury charges for lying to a grand jury. (AP)Shayanna Jenkins faces perjury charges for lying to a grand jury. (AP)FALL RIVER, Mass. – She is 25, pretty, petite and the young mother of a toddler. Her friends call her Shay. She was listed as "Boss Lady" in the cell phone of Aaron Hernandez, her high school boyfriend turned NFL star turned father of her 2-year-old daughter turned accused murderer, three times over.

    Now, as the prosecution's witness list gets whittled down, Shayanna Jenkins is the most closely watched figure in the trial of whether Hernandez murdered his friend, Odin Lloyd, in the early morning hours of June 17, 2013.

    Will she be called to testify? And if so, will she accept an immunity deal and possibly seal the case against the former New England Patriot or instead remain silent, stand in contempt of court and likely be jailed?

    The couple wasn't officially engaged when prosecutors allege Hernandez, at the very least, "orchestrated" the killing of Lloyd in a field behind an industrial park near their North Attleboro, Mass., dream home.

    Now she sports a giant rock on her left hand.

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  • Painted pellet gun offered up as defense of Aaron Hernandez

    Kyle Aspinwall examines a Glock pistol while testifying during the murder trial of Aaron Hernandez. (AP)Kyle Aspinwall examines a Glock pistol while testifying during the murder trial of Aaron Hernandez. (AP)It was Aaron Hernandez's defense team that introduced a Taiwanese-made soft pellet gun as evidence in the murder trial of the former New England Patriots star.

    And it was that gun – or at least its oddly paint-altered barrel end – that served as an example of the defense's creativity, aggressiveness … and apparent desperation in this case.

    The pellet gun carries some of the same unique physical characteristics of a Glock 21 Generation 3, .45-caliber automatic pistol. That's the weapon prosecution expert witnesses have identified as being used to murder Odin Lloyd on the night of June 17, 2013, behind a North Attleboro, Mass., industrial park and as the object being held by Hernandez minutes later in surveillance video inside his nearby home.

    Needless to say, if the defense can't refute, or at least establish reasonable doubt in jurors on this point, the case may be over. The coincidence of Hernandez carrying, without explanation, the same make and model as the murder weapon minutes

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  • Expert: Aaron Hernandez had a gun in his hand after Lloyd murder

    Aaron Hernandez is seen in footage from his home security system allegedly holding a gun. (AP)Aaron Hernandez is seen in footage from his home security system allegedly holding a gun. (AP)They are prosecution exhibits 317 A, B, F, G, H, L and T, photos of individual frames from security video inside Aaron Hernandez's home; grainy still shots that could doom the defense of the former New England Patriot in the 2013 murder of his friend, Odin Lloyd.

    They are the non-smoking gun, if you will.

    Police never found the murder weapon, a Glock 21 Generation 3, linked to the shooting death of Lloyd. His body was found with six bullet wounds in a field behind an industrial park near Hernandez's North Attleboro, Mass., home. Five casings were discovered on the scene. A sixth was found inside a Nissan Altima that Hernandez rented and is seen on videotape driving that night.

    The still photos from around 3:30 a.m. on June 17, 2013, just minutes after the prosecution's painstakingly constructed timeline says that Lloyd was killed, show Hernandez in the foyer of his home, about to head down to his man cave in the basement, holding a black object that stands starkly against his white

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  • Patriots' AFC East rivals make biggest moves, all refusing to kiss the rings

    Long ago, the New England Patriots dubbed them "hat and T-shirt games," where victory means something tangible was won, namely an AFC East division title. It was thus commemorated with a ballcap or celebratory article of garish clothing.

    The name serves not so much as a moment of joy but as a stop and smell the roses reminder. New England has won the AFC East 12 of the past 14 seasons, and if you hang around long enough, veterans say, it becomes routine, expected, just part of the process toward a far greater goal. (You get a hat or shirt for winning the AFC title and Super Bowl, too, but those accomplishments are not lost on anyone).

    It's Super Bowl or bust in New England, but winning a division crown in the NFL should never be taken for granted. Or that's the theory. So here's a hat. Take a T-shirt. Soak it in … for a moment. Or something like that. Rob Gronkowski shows off another AFC East title cap last December. (AP) Rob Gronkowski shows off another AFC East title cap last December. (AP)

    As long as Bill Belichick and Tom Brady are around expecting anything other than the Patriots to finish first is at-risk

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  • Chip Kelly will stop at no end to get players he thinks will win him a title

    Scared money don't make no money. Whether Chip Kelly is a fan of Young Jeezy or old gambling adages that inspire modern lyrics, the Philadelphia Eagles boss sure isn't scared.

    Of course, what sounds bold in a hip hop-song isn't always the finest way to run a franchise in the NFL. It's a league that is generally scared of doing anything that will lose a press conference, cause television analysts to scream or, hey, in Kelly's case, basically be accused of racism on ESPN.

    Kelly, full of his signature self-confidence, appears unfazed by all of it.

    Jeremy Maclin was another productive Eagle who was no longer part of Chip Kelly's plans. (AP)Jeremy Maclin was another productive Eagle who was no longer part of Chip Kelly's plans. (AP)You can't say he doesn't provide a jolt of excitement, NBA-style wheeling and dealing in the NFL. Whether he can create a champion in Philly is the question.

    On Tuesday, Kelly pulled off his second major trade in as many weeks and it appears rather unlikely he's done. This time it was quarterback Nick Foles, who in 2013 became a star under Kelly's offense only to be hampered by injuries last year, that was shipped off to St. Louis for Sam

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  • Babysitter describes her night out with Aaron Hernandez

    Babysitter Jennifer Fortier testifies during the murder trial of Aaron Hernandez. (AP)Babysitter Jennifer Fortier testifies during the murder trial of Aaron Hernandez. (AP)Two nights before Aaron Hernandez is alleged to have been involved in the murder of Odin Lloyd, the former New England Patriots star tried to hook up with the babysitter of his young daughter.

    The incident took place at a suburban Boston apartment Hernandez rented in addition to the nearby McMansion that he called home with his fiancée and daughter. The babysitter, Jennifer Fortier, testified Monday that they kissed in one of the apartment's bedrooms but then she rebuffed Hernandez's advancements.

    "I pushed him away," Fortier, now 28, said of the early morning encounter. "I told him, 'I'm your Nanny. I can't do this.' … He understood and said it was OK."

    Hernandez, now 25, then went to sleep. Fortier called a car service to come get her and a girlfriend who was also present. Also asleep in the apartment was Lloyd, the murder of whom Hernandez is standing trial for in Bristol County (Mass.) Superior Court.

    Two days later, Fortier babysat for Hernandez and his live-in fiancée Shayanna

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