Aaron Hernandez’s death in prison has been ruled a suicide and the former NFL star’s brain is being donated to sports concussion researchers, Massachusetts authorities said Thursday.
The declaration by prosecutors, state police and public health officials came after a tumultuous day in which Hernandez’s lawyer suggested the state was mishandling the investigation and illegally withholding his brain after releasing the rest of the body to a funeral home.
Authorities said the medical examiner had ruled cause of death was asphyxia by hanging and that investigators had found three handwritten notes next to a Bible in Hernandez’s cell at the Souza-Baranowski Correctional Center in Shirley. Authorities previously said Hernandez had not left a suicide note and he hadn’t been on suicide watch.
“There were no signs of a struggle, and investigators determined that Mr. Hernandez was alone at the time of the hanging,” the statement read.
Bills: Offensive lineman Cyrus Kouandjio was taken to the hospital for observation after police found him without any pants on in a suburban Buffalo field.
Erie County Sheriff’s spokesman Scott Zylka said deputies were responding to a complaint of a suspicious person when they came upon Kouandjio around 9:30 a.m. Wednesday. Zylka said the player was cooperative in answering deputies’ questions, and added no charges have been filed.
Giants: Defensive end Jason Pierre-Paul says the injury that sidelined him late last season was more serious than a sports hernia.
Pierre-Paul said surgeons fixed two spots in his abdomen and two in his groin in December.
Elsewhere: Menacing pass rusher Khalil Mack had his fifth-year contract option exercised by the Oakland Raiders on Thursday, presumably keeping him with the team through the 2018 season. The AP Defensive Player of the Year for 2016, Mack had sacks in eight straight games during one stretch last season and finished with 11. … The agent for former VCU basketball forward Mo Alie-Cox says his client agreed to terms with the Indianapolis Colts. … The Dallas Cowboys signed veteran safety Robert Blanton for depth after losing Barry Church and J.J. Wilcox in free agency.