His son was socially versatile, easily fitting in with different crowds.
The former general manager of the Colts admitted they 'steered clear' of Hernandez because 'there were questions there'. On June 8, 2010, Hernandez was signed to a four year contract with a bonus of $200,000 - a smaller amount than any NFL recruit of his caliber would expect, but one that would soon be upped if Hernandez performed on the field, which he undoubtedly did.
Hernandez finished the 2010 season with 45 receptions for 563 yards and six touchdowns over 14 games.
The fact that the star slipped to the 15th pick in the fourth round and into the hands of the New England Patriots may have been surprising based on his football acumen alone, but became easier to understand when his off-the-field behavior sensationally hit the headlines.
For Hernandez fans, his recruitment to his hometown team couldn't have been more of a fairytale.
But Dennis emphasized self-reliance, a lesson that it seemed Hernandez took to heart - if his yearbook quote was anything to go by.
Hernandez's world was shattered, though, when his father died unexpectedly from an infection following routine hernia surgery when Hernandez was 16 - an impressionable age.
It seemed the happy result of a childhood emphasis on hard work and responsible living - but the death of his supportive father seemed to send Hernandez down a darker, more dangerous path.
Back in 2010, University of Florida star Aaron Hernandez was lauded as 'unquestionably one of the best receiving tight ends' ahead of that year's NFL draft.
Six days later, Hernandez was sensationally arrested for the murder and led from his home in handcuffs.