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Bengals' Nicholson arrested on domestic violence charge

CINCINNATI -- Linebacker A.J. Nicholson was arrested on a
domestic violence charge Friday, the first arrest of a Cincinnati
Bengals' player since commissioner Roger Goodell cracked down on
misconduct last month.

Nicholson already was one of nine Bengals players arrested
during a nine-month span, turning the team into a prime example of
player misconduct. The team had gone four months without having a
player arrested.

Police in nearby Taylor Mill, Ky., arrested Nicholson after a
woman called 911 on Friday afternoon to say she had been assaulted
by the second-year player. He was charged with fourth-degree
assault, a misdemeanor.

Goodell introduced a new conduct policy last month that stiffens
penalties and holds franchises responsible when their players get
into trouble.

Nicholson, a fifth-round draft pick from Florida State in 2006,
appeared in only two games last season, when he had a hamstring
injury.

Last March, Nicholson pleaded no contest to burglary and grand
theft in Tallahassee, Fla., and was sentenced to two months in a
work program. He had been charged with stealing electronic
equipment and other items from the apartment of a former Florida
State teammate.

Nicholson was also placed on two years' probation, which could
be jeopardized by his latest arrest.

Taylor Mill police chief Steve Knauf said a woman called police
to Nicholson's apartment at 3:10 p.m. on Friday, saying she had
been hit in the face. The officer who responded saw that the woman
had an injury by her eye.

Nicholson wasn't at the apartment, but later showed up at the
police station and was arrested, Knauf said. He faces up to 12
months in jail and a $500 fine if convicted.

He was jailed in the Kenton County (Ky.) Detention Center
following his arrest and released late Friday on $5,000 bond, jail
personnel said.

Bengals spokesman Jack Brennan said the team had no immediate
comment because it was still gathering information on the arrest.

The Bengals lead the league in off-the-field player problems.

Receiver Chris Henry and middle linebacker Odell Thurman
currently are suspended by the league for misconduct. Henry has
been arrested four times since December 2005, and will miss the
first eight games next season under a suspension imposed by Goodell
last month.

Thurman was suspended for all of last season after skipping a
drug test and getting arrested for drunken driving. Last February,
he pleaded no contest to drunken driving and received a 90-day jail
sentence that was put on hold while he got treated for alcohol
abuse.

Thurman's sentence could be reduced at a hearing in June if he
stays out of trouble and completes the treatment program. Also, he
could apply to the league for reinstatement for next season.

Six of the Bengals' picks from the 2005-06 drafts have been
arrested, including Nicholson. The linebacker already had
disciplinary issues when the Bengals took a chance on him.

Nicholson was suspended for Florida State's appearance in the
2006 Orange Bowl after he violated team policy by taking a woman to
the team's hotel in Miami.

A month after the Bengals drafted him, he faced the criminal
charges in Florida. He and another Florida State player, Fred
Rouse, were accused of breaking into the apartment of former
teammate Lorenzo Booker and stealing items.