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Chris Cook cleared on gun charge


Vikings cornerback Chris Cook was cleared on a charge of brandishing a firearm Friday.

Cook was accused of taking out a gun during a verbal alertercation with a neighbor.  He admitted getting into an argument, but denied taking a gun out.

“I was never concerned.  I had good witnesses. All of our stories matched each other,” Cook told Chip Scoggins of the Minneapolis Star-Tribune.  “They decided they were basically trying to string this story together and just make me look bad. The judge ruled in my favor. . . .  The verdict was not guilty and he just dismissed it. I’m just happy to get it over with.”

Cook promises to be more “cautious” when dealing with others in the future.   He was arrested and charged with a misdemeanor in March. Getting the case solved so quickly should help Cook’s chances of avoiding major punishment from the league.

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Everson Griffen’s arrest his second since Friday

Minnesota Vikings v Chicago Bears Getty Images

Mike Florio brought you the news late Monday of Vikings defensive end Everson Griffen’s arrest for felony battery of a police officer. As it turns out, that’s not the only trouble he’s been in recently.

Griffen’s on a law-breaking binge.

The Minneapolis Star-Tribune has confirmed a report that Griffen was also arrested last Friday night in Hollywood for public drunkenness.

During the course of his second arrest in four days, Griffen told police he “did not want to go back to jail.”

Griffen was released from custody at around 1:30 a.m. Tuesday morning.

Tom Pelissero of 1500 ESPN Twin Cities wrote this terrific profile of Griffen last June. It includes one NFL executive explaining why his team removed Griffen from its draft board last April.

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Ronnie Brown's DUI case continued

Dolphins running back Ronnie Brown is widely regarded as having top-notch character, and has no history of off-the-field problems dating back to his time at Auburn.  Therefore, his March arrest for driving under the influence caught everyone by surprise.

According to the Miami Herald, Brown’s trial was continued until September 2 during a Thursday morning court appearance.  September 2 is the same date as the Dolphins’ preseason finale.  Though starters don’t typically play in the fourth exhibition game, Brown’s attorney reportedly may pursue a jury trial — and another continuance — should no resolution be reached with prosecutors in the meantime.
“He’s not going to have to miss a single day of practice or a single game,” promised Brown’s lawyer, Michael LaScala.
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Shaun Rogers placed in 12-month diversion program

Browns defensive lineman Shaun Rogers will be placed in a 12-month diversion program Thursday stemming from his April arrest for attempting to board a plane with a loaded handgun, according to the Cleveland Plain Dealer

The program requires Rogers to endure a 10-hour weapons course and perform 40 hours of community service.  Upon completion, charges would be dropped.
“Shaun is appreciative of the consideration he received in this case,” said attorney Patrick D’Angelo.  “He understands that this is a serious matter, and he wanted to assure everyone that he did not act intentionally in this case.”  
At the time of the incident, Rogers told airport security that he’d “forgot” the gun was among his luggage.
The Browns and the NFL decided to wait out the legal process before taking action against Rogers.  In May, Browns president Mike Holmgren informed the Plain Dealer that he indeed expects the league to suspend Rogers.
Rogers pleaded not guilty to his concealed weapons charge three months ago, but entry into the diversion program is enough to trigger punishment under the NFL’s Personal Conduct Policy, whether or not he’s convicted.  It’s believed Rogers’ suspension will cost him at least a game or two.
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Titans rookie Howard pleads no contest to assault

On Tuesday, Titans rookie defensive lineman David Howard entered a plea of no contest to a charge of misdemeanor assault.  Howard, a product of Brown University, was arrested in Rhode Island in April of 2009 for allegedly beating up a patron at a bar for which he bounced.

According to Howard’s attorney, the charge will be expunged from the rookie’s record if he stays out of trouble for a year.  
Howard was the 241st overall pick in April’s draft.  The Titans almost certainly were aware of the incident before selecting him.  It occurred before Howard entered the NFL, and is unlikely to affect his playing status this season.
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Money changed hands between Brandon Underwood and his alleged victims

The potential case against Packers cornerback Brandon Underwood has sprung yet another gigantic leak.

Per Rob Demovsky of the Green Bay Press-Gazette, police have confirmed that money changed hands between Underwood and the two women who have claimed that he sexually assaulted them.

Police released the information in response to reports that Underwood could be charged with soliciting prostitution.  The prosecutor could make the final decision regarding possible charges by early next week.

Meanwhile, the Press-Gazette has posted a link to the 911 call.  It was made by a man who said that a woman in a car seemed to be “in trouble.”

According to previous reports, one of the women stole money from Underwood while the other woman was, um, meeting with him.  They both then were kicked out of the condo where several Packers players stayed the night.  So it could be that they never really intended to cry rape, but that they needed to explain themselves to police and opted to accuse someone of a crime in lieu of possibly admitting to the commission of one.

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Brandon Underwood apologizes to teammates

Packers cornerback Brandon Underwood, accused over the weekend of sexual assault, practiced with the team on Tuesday and Wednesday.

Per the Green Bay Press-Gazette, Underwood apologized to his teammates after Wednesday’s session.

Underwood reportedly won’t be charged with sexual assault, due in large part to the dramatic change in the alleged victims’ version of the events.  He possibly will be charged with solicitation of prostitution.

Underwood declined to discuss the situation when speaking to the media.  Coach Mike McCarthy made a backhanded reference to the incident by way that the team has “been in the paper way too much.”

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Donut shop employee said "drunk" Golden Tate stole donuts, keys

Seahawks receiver Golden Tate and coach Pete Carroll downplayed Tate’s recent donut run, which the team likely never would have acknowledged unless accounts of the situation had been reported on Tuesday.

And Tate seemed to placed the blame on a friend for taking the donuts. 

The 911 call made by the night baker from the donut shop suggests otherwise.

The folks at TMZ have tracked down the audio, in which Tate and his friend are described as “drunk” and “acting like idiots.”  Also, the night baker makes it clear at one point that Tate was seen running from behind the counter.

The baker claims that they stole donuts and her keys.

Both Tate and the other man live in the building where the donut shop is located.  At one point, the baker said that building security already had “scolded a couple of drunk people.”  Building security asked the baker what she would have them do about the situation, and the baker said, “Make sure people aren’t coming in here and stealing sh-t from us.”

So while the situation can be laughed off after the fact by the player and the team, the woman who was working in the donut shop didn’t sound amused.

The message to players continues to be the same as it was in the wake of the Ben Roethlisberger situation:  If you get really drunk, there’s a chance you’ll do stupid things.  And sometimes those stupid things will also be illegal.

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Report: Golden Tate avoids arrest in donut store incident

Earlier today, we told you to keep your eyes peeled for an unusual story.

And here it is.

The folks at TMZ report that Seahawks receiver Golden Tate was apprehended early Saturday inside a Top Pot donut shop in Bellevue, Washington.  The problem?  The donut store wasn’t open for business at the time.

Per the report, Tate received a “trespass warning,” but he wasn’t arrested.

As we hear it, Tate entered the store with another person and feasted on donuts.  We’re told that the folks at Top Pot opted not to press charges, which helped Tate avoid arrest.

Meanwhile, Tate boasted in April that he’d never get in any trouble.

“Being at Notre Dame, you’re used to being under the microscope, so I’m
used to
having all eyes on me,” Tate told 93.7 The Fan in Pittsburgh.  “Anything I do, anywhere I go.  My
mother and my father
taught me what’s right and what’s wrong, so I don’t think I have a
making any tough decisions

Apparently, he didn’t have to make any “tough decisions” between glazed and cream-filled.  He simply ate both.

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Report: Brandon Underwood could be charged with solitication of prostitution

As expected, Packers cornerback Brandon Underwood won’t be charged with sexual assault. 
As not previously contemplated, Underwood could be charged with solicitation of prostitution.

The latest report comes from Bill Michaels WTMJ in Milwaukee.

According to Michaels, Underwood met the two women who would later claim sexual assault at a “Gentleman’s Club” named Chubby’s.  He allegedly solicited one or both to return to the condo where he and other members of the team were staying.

And so while an “encounter” between Underwood and one of the women was taking place, the other woman tried to rob him.

When the theft was discovered, the women were thrown out — and then they cried rape.

As previously reported, the women initially said they were assaulted by multiple players while being held down by other players.  Then, they changed their story, claiming that Underwood assaulted them.

If Underwood ultimately is convicted of or pleads guilty to solicitation of prostitution, he likely would be disciplined by the league office, pursuant to the Personal Conduct Policy.

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Josh Sitton calls allegations against Brandon Underwood "bogus"

With all signs pointing to authorities in Lake Delton, Wisconsin not charging Packers cornerback Brandon Underwood with the sexual assault of two women, Underwood is starting to get some support from his teammates.

“I know Underwood is innocent when it comes to any legal issues,” guard Josh Sitton
said, according to the Green Bay Press-Gazette.  “That’s my personal opinion about that.  Legally, my opinion is
that he didn’t do anything wrong or whatever.  The allegations are very

Sitton isn’t happy about the situation, and it’s not clear whether he directs any of his frustration at Underwood.

“Just to have my name tainted is disappointing,” Sitton said.  “I’m the
most disappointed that our names even got out [in public] because there
are no allegations against us. . . .

“It’s crazy because I wouldn’t change one thing I did that night.  Really, every little thing is watched and can get out.  You’ve got
to watch every step.  I couldn’t have done one thing different.  I was
put in a room and [in another room] something stupid happened.”

Sitton had more.

“I’m a man of high character and high values and I don’t stand for any [expletive] like that.”

Frankly, I want that quote on my tombstone.

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Police charge Reggie Wayne's ex-girlfriend with theft and fraud

A woman who allegedly charged nearly $93,000 to the credit cards of Colts receiver Reggie Wayne has surrendered to authorities, according to the Indianapolis Star.

Natasha McKenzie, 26, faces charges of theft and fraud.

In one year, she allegedly used the cards to obtain $60,000 in cash and $35,000 in services.

Wayne filed a theft report in April. 

McKenzie has claimed that Wayne knew about the activity.  It’s possible that the problem arose only after Reggie Wayne’s wife became aware of the activity. 

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D.A. to get Brandon Underwood case on Tuesday

Police nearly have completed the investigation regarding the claims of sexual assault against Packers cornerback Brandon Underwood.  According to Don Walker of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, the case will be given to Sauk County District Attorney Patricia Barrett on Tuesday.

It’s believed that Barrett will make a decision on the case by Friday.

The fact that the women initially claimed that they were assaulted by multiple players could lead to a decision that the evidence will not meet the very high standard of proof beyond a reasonable doubt.

“That, obviously, is somewhat troubling when you have such a big
discrepancy in the initial statement than what they claimed shortly into
the investigation,” Lake Delton, Wisconsin Police Chief Tom Dorner said Monday, per Charles Davis of the Green Bay Press-Gazette.

In other words, Underwood likely won’t be facing charges.  That said, the women still could file a civil lawsuit against him, given that a much lower standard of proof applies.

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Johnny Jolly's trial starts on the first day of training camp

The good news for Packers defensive lineman Johnny Jolly?  It looks like his trial on drug-possession charges in Houston finally will start.

The bad news?  Greg Bedard of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reports that the process begins on the first day of his team’s training camp.

Jolly would face no fines or other potential consequences if he doesn’t sign his restricted free agent tender, which he has yet to accept.  But as Bedard points out, the Packers also can withdraw the tender.

A four-year veteran, Jolly has started every game in each of the past two seasons.

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League looking into Brandon Underwood case

As police continue to investigate claims from two women that Packers cornerback Brandon Underwood allegedly sexually assaulted them, Underwood’s legal battle has a new front — the National Football League.

“There is an active law enforcement investigation and we are monitoring
developments,” NFL spokesman Greg Aiello told the Associated Press on Sunday.  “As with any such incident, it will be reviewed under the
league’s Personal Conduct Policy.”

But don’t expect the NFL to take action before the case resolves, unless and until Underwood has a second incident.  As explained when news of the situation first broke, the player accused of assault won’t be subject to a suspension absent proof of a pattern of allegations.  (It could be argued, in theory, that two women making allegations constitutes a pattern, even if the allegations arose on the same evening.)

That said, if guilt becomes overwhelming as to a single incident, the league could intervene.  It widely was believed that the NFL planned to suspend receiver Plaxico Burress before he pleaded guilty to felony weapons charges last year.

For Underwood, the fact that the allegations fall within the realm of he said/shes said makes it difficult for the league to draw any solid conclusions.  And if Underwood ultimately isn’t charged, the league likely will take no action against him.

Going forward, however, the situation likely will count as a strike against Underwood in the event he faces future allegations.  As Commissioner Roger Goodell said when I interviewed him for our first-ever PFT season preview magazine, “You can make a mistake or you can be targeted or set up once, maybe twice.  It’s starting to develop that you’re in the wrong place with the wrong people at the wrong time.”

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