"Disappointed," he said without really answering the question.
The mystic message behind Johnson's response wasn't hard to decipher.
A first-grader could have read between lines.
Johnson was disappointed.
But not surprised.
The fact is, nobody in Gainesville is totally shocked that Hernandez seems to be a person of interest in a homicide probe. Especially not Johnson, the man who is famous for not only representing UF athletes but making their troubles disappear into the legal limbo land of dropped charges and deferred prosecutions.
When Urban Meyer coached in Gainesville, we media cynics used to call Johnson the most valuable member of UF's staff even though he doesn't actually work for the Gators. Even so, he was Meyer's ingenious and innovative "defensive coordinator" because he was so effective at defending some of the Urbanator's gun-toting, bar-fighting miscreants and malcontents.
Some athletes just always seem to find trouble, and Hernandez was certainly one of them at UF. It started in his freshman season when he was arrested after getting into a fight with a bouncer at a bar near campus. He was a juvenile then and got off with a slap on the wrist.
According to the Sporting News, Hernandez also had some controlled-substance issues and was suspended for failed drug tests later in his tenure at UF.
Hernandez was among four Gator football players questioned in a 2007 shooting incident in Gainesville. None of the players was arrested, but detectives questioned them about the shootings of Corey Smith and Justin Glass on the Sunday morning after Florida lost to Auburn in 2007.
According to a Orlando Sentinel report at the time, police said Smith, 28, and Glass, 19, were driving around in traffic about 2:30 a.m. when a man began shooting into their car. Smith was critically wounded in the head while Glass was shot in the arm. Hernandez declined to discuss the case with reporters back then and was never charged with any crime.
And as I write this column, Hernandez has not been charged with any crime in New England either, but there are certainly some suspicious circumstances surrounding the murder investigation.
The body of Odin Lloyd, 27, was found Monday in an industrial park near Hernandez's home in Boston. He had been shot in the back of the head. According to police, Lloyd was a friend of Hernandez's and was dating the sister of Hernandez's girlfriend. Lloyd's body was discovered near a vehicle that had been rented by Hernandez.
According to ABC News, an investigator said police searched Hernandez's mansion a second time Thursday based on evidence that "he destroyed his home security system.'' The investigator, and other law enforcement sources, confirmed that the security system - which included video surveillance cameras - was smashed intentionally.
Not only that, but a cell phone used by Hernandez was handed over to investigators "in pieces'' by his attorneys, the ABC sources said. Police apparently also want to know why several house cleaners were hired on Monday to scrub Hernandez's palatial estate.
And there's more. In another case, a South Florida man has filed a civil lawsuit claiming Hernandez shot him in the face after an argument at a strip club in February. The man, Alexander Bradley, claims the gun shot caused him to lose his right eye.
Let's hope these are all just a series of unfortunate circumstances involving a player who helped Meyer's Gators win a national championship. But you certainly have to wonder about a guy who always seems to be way too close to where the trouble is.
By my count, Hernandez has now been at least questioned in three shootings. A show of hands, please, for those of you who have ever been questioned in just one shooting? At the very least, wouldn't you say Hernandez is hanging out at the wrong places with the wrong crowd?
Then again, some of those who knew him at UF might just tell you the other side of the story.
Maybe Aaron Hernandez doesn't hang out with the wrong crowd at all.
Maybe he is the wrong crowd.
firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @BianchiWrites. Listen to his radio show every weekday from 6 to 9 a.m. on 740 AM.