Jury hears from tattoo artist in Aaron Hernandez murder trial

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Jury hears from tattoo artist in Aaron Hernandez murder trial

BOSTON - A California tattoo artist detailed to jurors Friday the violent artwork he inked on Aaron Hernandez that prosecutors say memorialize the former New England Patriots star's killing of two men.

David Nelson testified Friday in a Boston courtroom that Hernandez visited Hermosa Ink in Hermosa Beach, California, in 2013 with a specific tattoo in mind for his right arm.

The former standout right end wanted an image of a revolver with the gun barrel facing forward, as if pointing at the viewer.

Nelson said Hernandez instructed him to draw five bullets visible in the cylinder of the gun and one cylinder empty.

Hernandez also had Nelson ink two separate gun muzzles, a spent shell casing and the phrase "God Forgives" etched backward so that it could only be read in a mirror. Nelson said he also tattooed the phrase "Blood. Sweat. Tears." on Hernandez's right hand.

Prosecutors said the tattoos are evidence Hernandez killed two men in 2012

Authorities said Hernandez fired five shots from a revolver into a car outside a Boston nightclub club, killing Daniel de Abreu and Safiro Furtado. Prosecutors said Hernandez killed the men after one of them bumped into him at the nightclub earlier that night and spilled his drink.

Hernandez's lawyers have strongly denied the prosecutor's theories about the tattoos.

During his cross examination of Nelson on Friday, defense attorney Jose Baez appeared to make light of the argument.

At one point, he jokingly asked Nelson if he'd also inked gun tattoos for Rihanna, Angelina Jolie and other celebrities.

Hernandez already is serving a life sentence for killing Odin Lloyd, a semi-pro football player who had been dating the sister of Hernandez's fiancee, in 2013.

Hightower, Branch will begin training camp on PUP list

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Hightower, Branch will begin training camp on PUP list

The Patriots will be without two of last year's defensive starters when training camp begins later this week. 

Both Dont'a Hightower and Alan Branch were placed on the physically unable to perform list on Monday. They are eligible to come off the list at any time. Once they are removed from the list, they will be eligible to practice fully. Players on PUP count against the 90-man training-camp roster.

Undrafted rookie tackle Andrew Jelks will begin camp on the active/non-football injury list. The Vanderbilt product dealt with knee injuries that kept him off the field each of the last two seasons. 

Neither Hightower, nor Branch, nor Jelks participated in spring practices at Gillette Stadium. Hightower was present for voluntary work, but during practices open to the media he typically did some conditioning off to the side. Branch skipped optional team activities (as he usually does), and though he was in Foxboro for mandatory minicamp, he did not practice during that three-day stretch.

Hightower was limited last season with knee and shoulder injuries. The MMQB.com's Albert Breer said on Sports Sunday that Hightower's health concerns made teams reticent to make him offers that would lure him away from New England. 

Report: Patriots in talks with CB Brandon Flowers

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Report: Patriots in talks with CB Brandon Flowers

In what’s been a somewhat busy offseason for their secondary, veteran cornerback Brandon Flowers is in talks with the Patriots, according to Adam Schefter. 

Flowers, who spent the first six seasons of his career with the Chiefs and last three with the Chargers, was released in March. He is set to meet with the Cardinals this week as well. 

The Pats lost cornerback Logan Ryan this offseason, but landed the top free agent corner on the market in Stephon Gilmore. A potential addition of Flowers might give them an insurance policy if second-year pro Cyrus Jones fails to improve from a dismal rookie season. 

Flowers was limited to just six games last season, as a concussion ended his season in December. He has played in at least 11 games in the rest of his NFL seasons. His lone Pro Bowl nod came in the 2013 season.