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Report: Aaron Hernandez questioned in death investigation

8:14 AM, Jun 19, 2013   |    comments
New England Patriots star tight end Aaron Hernandez during NFL game against Houston Texans in Foxborough, Mass in December 2012 / AP
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NORTH ATTLEBOROUGH, MASS. (CBSNews.com) - State and local police spent hours at the home of New England Patriots tight end Aaron Hernandez on Tuesday night, according to Sports Illustrated.

Another group of officers was searching an industrial park about a mile away where a body was discovered the day before.

Police at the Hernandez home and prosecutors would not comment on the actions while Sports Illustrated, citing an unidentified source, reported that Hernandez was not believed to be a suspect in what was being treated as a possible homicide. Police had spoken with Hernandez, the magazine said.

Sports Illustrated reported that the link between Hernandez and the case was a rented Chevrolet Suburban with Rhode Island plates police had been searching for that "has emerged as a key piece of evidence in the investigation."

The Sun Chronicle, of Attleboro, Mass., said the SUV was registered to Enterprise and investigators wanted to analyze it for fingerprints.

No cause of death had been released for the body of what authorities say is a still unidentified 27-year-old male that was found by a jogger at about 5:30 p.m. Monday.

The man who made the grisly discovery didn't want to be identified, but described what he found to CBS Boston station WBZ-TV, saying he "saw an African-American male, probably 25-35 years old, decently dressed. He was stiff, motionless; one of the police officers came back later and said it looked (like) the guy had been shot somewhere else and dumped here."

Hernandez is represented by the Athletes First agency, which said it has no comment "on the Aaron Hernandez situation." The player's mother said by telephone from Connecticut on Tuesday she had no knowledge of a case involving him.

On Tuesday night, some police officers stood on the front steps of Hernandez's home and others could be seen inside. Some walked around the driveway and in the garage with flashlights. Before wrapping up their work for the night, one officer took a box out of the massive house.

Two men left the home with investigators and went to the North Attleboro police station, WBZ says. The men told WBZ they are the uncles of Hernandez's fiancee, and were just visiting for the day from Connecticut.

Hernandez was in the home when State Police left the home Tuesday night, WBZ adds.

"I am aware of the reports, but I do not anticipate that we will be commenting publicly during an ongoing police investigation," Patriots spokesman Stacey James said.

North Attleborough is south of Boston on the Rhode Island state line, not far from the Patriots' stadium in Foxboro.

The Patriots drafted Hernandez out of Florida in 2010. Since then, he has combined with Rob Gronkowski to form one of the top tight end duos in the NFL.

In 38 games, the 6-foot-1, 245-pound Hernandez has 175 receptions for 1,956 yards and 18 touchdowns. He missed 10 games last season with an ankle injury and had shoulder surgery in April, but is expected to be ready for training camp. The Patriots have not said which shoulder was operated on.

Last summer, the Patriots gave Hernandez a five-year contract. It was worth $40 million, according to reports, and came just months after the team locked up Gronkowski, through 2019.

"Aaron's improved a lot," Patriots coach Bill Belichick said at the time. "He's worked hard, he's improved a lot in all phases of the game -- the passing game, the running game, protection and his overall versatility. He's doing a good job for us."

Hernandez played in college with Tim Tebow, who was recently signed by the Patriots.

© 2013 CBS Interactive Inc. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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