COVINGTON, Ky. -- Linebacker A.J. Nicholson was waived by
the Cincinnati Bengals on Monday, hours after he pleaded not guilty
to a charge that he hit his girlfriend. She insists she
accidentally hit herself with a cell phone, and police misread what
Nicholson was charged with misdemeanor assault Friday, and
despite his girlfriend's claim the case will go forward. He remains
free on $5,000 bond and a pretrial hearing was set for May 31.
Nicholson was a fifth-round draft pick from Florida State in
2006 but played in only two games because of a hamstring injury.
Clayton: No pull
A.J. Nicholson didn't have the clout to survive his off-field problems with the Bengals. Blog
His arrest was the first of a Bengals player since NFL
commissioner Roger Goodell cracked down on misconduct last month.
He already was one of nine Bengals players arrested during a
Outside court, Victoria Johnson said Nicholson never hit her.
She says she got a mark under her eye when she grabbed a cell phone
from Nicholson so hard she struck herself with the phone.
"I was very emotional and I was mad at A.J.," Johnson said.
"Like a lot of other couples, we had been arguing. But I am to
blame here. I exaggerated the situation. The police officer
misinterpreted my upset and emotional demeanor."
In 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
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.