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Gators take steps to erase Hernandez link

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Updated: 7/25/2013 12:10 pm

Gainesville, FL (Sports Network) - The University of Florida, like the New England Patriots, is taking steps to disconnect itself from Aaron Hernandez.

Hernandez, a former Gator and Patriots tight end, has pleaded not guilty to a first-degree murder charge in the death of Odin Lloyd.

Florida's University Athletic Association released the following statement Thursday morning:

"We didn't feel it was appropriate to celebrate Aaron Hernandez. We put together an immediate plan after the initial news broke to remove his likeness and name in various private and public areas in the facility, such as the South Endzone team area, locker room, football offices, Heavener Complex, Kornblau lobby and the brick display entrance to the football facility.

"We were able to implement some of the changes immediately and this (brick removal) was a more complex process to complete with our vendors.

"The plan was to have everything completed before the end of July."

Hernandez played at Florida from 2007-09. As a junior in 2009, he earned All- America honors while becoming the SEC's first winner of the Mackey Award, given annually to the nation's top tight end. Hernandez left school early and was selected in the fourth round of the 2010 draft by the Patriots.

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