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Aaron Hernandez was using angel dust, had become paranoid to the point of carrying a gun everywhere and was told by New England Patriots coach Bill Belichick to lie low or he’d be cut in the year before being accused of murder, according to a story in an upcoming issue of Rolling Stone.

Citing longtime friends of Hernandez who did not want their names used, the magazine describes a young man who was protected and pushed by his father in Bristol, Conn. But when his father, who had his own run-ins with the law but had gone straight, died unexpectedly, Hernandez’s life teetered between great accomplishments on the field and trouble off it.

He escaped scrapes with the law while a star player at Florida and even convinced the Patriots he was worth drafting, but after signing his five-year, $40 million contract extension in 2012, Hernandez hung out almost exclusively with a rough crowd.

Friends called the people gangsters, and even Hernandez expressed concern, according to the magazine. In February, according to the report, he flew to the NFL combine in Indianapolis to tell Belichick that his life was in danger. He had been carrying a gun, fearing that the people he had been hanging out with were going to kill him.

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He did not reveal that he had been using PCP (angel dust), according to Rolling Stone, nor that he often smoked marijuana after games, which is what friends told the magazine.

According to the report, this past spring Hernandez skipped workouts to rehab an injury in California. But the partying followed him there, he missed rehab sessions and the police were even called to his rental home after a loud dispute.

Belichick then told Hernandez he had better lie low and that any more problems would result in the tight end being cut. Hernandez rented an apartment in Franklin, Mass., according to the report, creating distance from the North Attleborough mansion where he’d entertained the rough crowd.

Friends told the magazine, however, that drugs and emotional instability based on Hernandez’s loss of his father led to paranoia and Hernandez’s ultimate unraveling.

“Don’t matter what it’s about: Aaron’s out of his mind,” a friend of the family said, according to Rolling Stone. “He’s been twisted on dust now for more than a year, which is when all of this crazy (stuff) started.”

In the aftermath of Hernandez’s arrest, it was revealed that he was a suspect in the murders of two other men in Boston and that he was facing a civil suit for shooting another man in the face.

Hernandez has been denied bail.

Robert Griffin III will start the Washington Redskins’ season opener on “Monday Night Football” on Sept. 9 against the Philadelphia Eagles, sources close to the star quarterback told ESPN.

Griffin has practiced the past two weeks without any setbacks to his surgically repaired knee and is coming off his best week of work yet.

Griffin still is scheduled to meet with Dr. James Andrews on Thursday to get medical clearance.

But the meeting with Andrews is just a formality, as Andrews cleared Griffin before training camp and only wants to re-examine him to make sure his recovery has progressed to everyone’s satisfaction.

Griffin tore multiple ligaments in his right knee late in the Redskins’ playoff game last season against Seattle. He said he feels better than he did before first injuring the knee. He also said he can run just as fast as he did before first hurting the knee.


• The Jacksonville Jaguars signed veteran cornerback Will Blackmon, cut Tuesday by the Seahawks.

• The New York Jets signed former Green Bay Packers backup quarterback Graham Harrell. Presumed starter Mark Sanchez is sidelined with an injured shoulder.

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