New England Patriots backup quarterback Tim Tebow reportedly tried to act as peacemaker in a 2007 bar fight involving his former University of Florida teammate, Aaron Hernandez.
USA Today Sports’ Kevin Manahan writes the incident allegedly took place at The Swamp Resturant in Gainesville, Fl. on April 28, 2007 at around 1 a.m.ET. Hernandez was then a 17-year-old minor who was not of legal drinking age and had not played a single down for the Gators.
Manahan cites an incident report obtained by USA Today Sports which says Hernandez got into an argument over an unpaid tab for two drinks. A waitress brought the drinks to him, which he consumed before not wanting to pay for them. The restaurant’s manager, Michael Taphorn, confronted Hernandez and asked him to leave the premises.
Hernandez told police Taphorn got into his face outside the bar. When the manager turned around to go back in, Hernandez threw a punch which landed on the side of Taphorn’s head.
ESPN reports Taphorn suffered a burst eardrum which made him want to press charges against Hernandez but later had second thoughts. Tebow told authorities he urged Hernandez to leave peacefully and offered to pay the tab.
When police arrived at the scene moments after the punching incident, they could not find Hernandez. They interviewed Tebow instead who said he witnessed the dispute and tried to “help resolve the conflict.”
The Orlando Sentinel’s Iliana Limon Romero reports Hernandez was found two hours later by a police officer. He asked him about the incident with Tebow present during the interrogation.
The officer remembers Hernandez did not appear to be intoxicated and was “very polite and professional.”
ESPN.com’s Elizabeth Merrill found out that Tebow was a sophomore at the time. He was also found out to have hosted Hernandez on a recruiting visit. They were actually close at one point, according to the ESPN report.
The 23-year-old Hernandez was charged with first-degree murder on the death of semi-pro football player Odin Lloyd. He has pleaded not guilty and is being held without bail.
Tebow signed with Hernandez’s former team, the New England Patriots, on June 11 for a two-year deal that includes no guaranteed money.