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.
Copyright 2007 by The Associated Press
NFL'S ZERO TOLERANCE
Roger Goodell is cracking down on the player misconduct that's plagued his term as NFL commissioner, suspending Tennessee's Adam "Pacman" Jones (right) for the 2007 season and Cincinnati's Chris Henry and Tank Johnson (left) for eight games. Henry and Johnson have since been reinstated after serving their penalties.
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