BOSTON — The 2012 New England Patriots were an offensive force, setting a record for first downs in an NFL season while scoring 557 points. Tight end Aaron Hernandez was a big part of that offense, catching 51 passes for 483 yards and scoring five touchdowns.

On Thursday, a grand jury indicted Hernandez in a double murder that occurred less than two months before that season began, and about a month before he signed a $40 million, five-year deal.

Hernandez, 24, already in custody after being charged in the June 2013 murder of Odin Lloyd, is now charged with two additional first-degree murders in the shooting deaths of Daniel Abreu and Safiro Furtado on July 16, 2012.

Daniel F. Conley, the Suffolk County district attorney, said Hernandez followed the two after a chance encounter at a bar . He said the men did not know one another.

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After Abreu and Furtado left the bar, the indictment charged, Hernandez followed them and pulled his vehicle next to theirs at a stoplight not far from the bar. Conley said Hernandez then fired several rounds into the victims’ car. Abreu, the driver of the car, died from a gunshot to the chest, Conley said. Furtado, who was in the front passenger seat, died of a gunshot wound to the head. Both victims were shot several times.

Conley said the police recovered the car Hernandez was driving by tracing it to a garage owned by a relative of Hernandez in his hometown, Bristol, Conn. Conley also said the police had recovered the murder weapon “from an individual with ties to Hernandez.”

The Boston Globe has reported that Lloyd may have been killed because he knew about the 2012 murders, but Conley had no comment when asked at a news conference about a possible link between the homicides.

Notes

• With the status of Pro Bowl wide receiver Josh Gordon still unclear for next season, the Cleveland Browns added two veteran free-agent wide receivers, agreeing to terms with Miles Austin and signing Earl Bennett. Austin is a former Cowboy and Bennett last played for the Bears.

• The San Francisco 49ers signed running back Carlos Hyde, their second-round draft pick last week, and cornerback Dontae Johnson, a fourth-rounder.

• The Oakland Raiders signed top draft pick Khalil Mack to an $18.7 million, four-year contract.