We noted in today’s one-liners that former NFL defensive lineman Daryl Gardener was arrested on the campus of the University of Central Florida, and ordinarily a story like that, about a player who’s been retired for almost a decade and who isn’t a big star, wouldn’t merit more than a mention in the one liners.
But the Gardener case has so many strange details that we’ll explore them in a little more detail.
According to the Orlando Sentinel, the arrest took place in front of the Zeta Tau Alpha sorority house at about 1:55 a.m. Tuesday. The 38-year-old Gardener and his girlfriend were both arrested for assaulting each other, and while the fact that the arrest took place at a sorority house might make you assume he was dating a young woman, his girlfriend is actually 49 years old.
Gardener claimed that his girlfriend threw a cologne bottle at him and hit him several times with a tire iron. He claims she flew into a rage after he danced with another woman at a nearby club called Fubar.
The girlfriend says that’s not true, and that Gardener started the physical altercation between the two of them by head-butting her.
Gardener, who was the Dolphins’ first-round pick in the 1996 NFL draft, is charged with domestic-violence battery. His girlfriend is charged with aggravated battery.
On Thursday Gardener wrote on Facebook, “I’m stressin in the worst way over my heart.”
After playing six seasons for the Dolphins, Gardener played one year for the Redskins in 2002 before signing a seven-year, $34.8 million contract with the Broncos in 2003. He was suspended twice for conduct detrimental to the team and played in only five games in Denver, and the Broncos’ decision to sign him is often cited as one of the worst contracts in NFL history.
The Broncos cut Gardener after the 2003 season, and after that he left the NFL and became a competitive bodybuilder.