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Deion Branch Stands By 'Great Friend' Aaron Hernandez, Hopes For Innocence

BOSTON (CBS) -- These days, former Patriots tight end Aaron Hernandez does not have too many public supporters as he remains locked up behind bars, awaiting trial after being charged with murder of Odin Lloyd.

But in Deion Branch, Hernandez still has a friend.

The longtime Patriots receiver spent parts of the last three seasons as Hernandez's teammate in Tom Brady's offense, and the soon-to-be 34-year-old receiver is having a hard time believing Hernandez could be guilty of the crime.

"Aaron is a great guy and a great friend of mine and a great teammate," Branch told the Albany Herald. "I love him to death, and it was shocking to hear his name involved in this situation. I truly hope and pray he doesn't have any dealings with it."

Though neither player is currently a member of the Patriots, both remain tied to the organization. For Hernandez, the Patriots are the only professional team he's ever played for, while Branch spent nearly seven of his 11-year career in New England.

"That's my guy, man. That's my guy," Branch elaborated to the Albany Herald. "It really shocked me. He was a great kid. Overall, I hope the best that he isn't involved with it and I hope he gets his name cleared, but most importantly I send my prayers and condolences out to the Lloyd family."

Branch added that he hopes whoever is responsible for the murder is brought to justice, but he seemed to make it clear he's hoping that person is not Hernandez.

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