The NFL Network analyst and former Baltimore Ravens coach told NFL Network's "NFL AM" that New England's rapid decision suggests team officials knew "a good deal" about what Hernandez is up against going forward.
"Virtually every club in the league," Billick said, "via the NFL as a whole and individually, have any number of staff -- security staff -- that, as you said, are former FBI or former detectives there, in the principalities which they reside, that are there (on) full-time status to monitor, help the players transition as they travel ... but obviously with their connections with a number of these institutions, that they're able to tap back into relationships that they have to find out what's going on."
Added Billick: "Now, did they know exactly what (Hernandez is) going to be charged with? Possibly, possibly not."
Still, Billick -- who coached the Ravens back when Ray Lewis pled guilty to obstruction of justice in 2000 -- believes the difference here boils down to the tidy parting of ways with a star player.
"We've seen this before, where players are released after DUIs or domestic abuse, spousal abuse," Billick said. "Charges, not criminally prosecuted, but just charges, and most people don't say anything about it. With a player the caliber or the notoriety of Hernandez is what makes this so special, the fact that they've cut the relationship so quickly, you're right, this clearly makes this a much easier way for the organization to move past this for this not to be a distraction going forward."