Former Cleveland Browns linebacker Ausar Walcott is arguing that he was acting in self-defense when he nearly killed a man during a fight last month, according to The Record.
A lawyer representing the 23-year-old Walcott said in court filings that the former Hackensack, N.J. football star and a group of friends were surrounded by 10 to 20 men outside the Palace Gentleman's Club in Passaic during the early morning hours of June 23. The men made various threats, and punched one of Walcott's friends "for no reason at all", the papers argue.
Walcott eventually punched Derrick Jones, injuring him so badly that he in critical condition in a New York City hospital for two weeks, according to police.
The Browns, with whom Walcott had recently signed as a free agent linebacker, released him shortly after he turned himself in on an attempted murder charge days after the incident.
State Superior Court Judge Raymond A. Reddin in Paterson reduced the cash-only bail to $85,000 from $500,000.
"I know that the Browns have cut him," Reddin said, adding if the team reconsiders, he wanted Walcott to have the chance to attend training camp.
"I don’t know if they will allow him that opportunity," Reddin said. "But if he had a chance to play in the NFL, I would hate to see him lose that chance if acquitted."
Reddin ordered Walcott not to have contact with the victim or his family. Defense attorney Miles Feinstein must also inform the court if Walcott leaves the state.
Among those who wrote letters of support for Walcott were former coaches, classmates, his agent, the Hackensack Police commissioner and a Hackensack Police detective.