Updating a previous story, an announcement was made that Maurice Jones-Drew will not be charged for his role in a bar fight in St. Augustine, Florida on May 26. On Tuesday, Christopher France, assistance state attorney, filed an “announcement of no information, stating that the state has no intentions of charging the All-Star running back for the Jacksonville Jaguars with battery.
Patrick Cahan, lawyer for Kasim Howard, maintains that video evidence from the night in question clearly shows Maurice Jones-Drew hitting his client in the face. Howard was working as a bouncer at the establishment that night. Lawyers for Jones-Drew have admitted he was at the bar, Conch House, that night, but was not in any way involved in the altercation.
Initially it was reported by TMZ, so take that for what it’s worth, that he had been charged for his involvement in the fight. According to NFL.com’s Ian Rapaport on the other hand, a second police report emerged exonerating him from any charges. Local police issued the following statement when asked about the events that transpired:
“The St. Augustine Police Department has taken a notarized statement of Misdemeanor Battery against Jacksonville Jaguar player Maurice Jones-Drew that stemmed from an altercation at the Conch House on Sunday, May 26, 2013. Jones-Drew has not been charged with any crime and maintains his innocence. He is cooperating fully with our investigation.”
This is a stark change from the original police report. The original report was where the story broke that Maurice Jones-Drew had been charged with battery. The description of the events from the first police report, and the were as follows;
“According to the police report, witnesses say … MJD’s buddy was told by security to stop touching a young female. The buddy allegedly “slapped” a security guard on his chest … and a melee ensued. One of the security guards reportedly put MJD’s friend in a headlock to stop the fight … and that’s when MJD stepped in and clocked the guard.”
Agent Adisa Bakari has repeatedly said that his client was innocent and in no way involved in the altercation. He insisted throughout the day that Maurice Jones-Drew would not be charged with battery, and appears to be correct. He has stated multiple times that his client conducted himself properly and left the establishment as soon as he noticed what was going on.
The security guard that the former UCLA running back allegedly punched did suffer contusions and bone bruise that night, so evidently something happened. An investigation by the NFL is likely to follow, and if it is discovered that the Jaguars’ All-pro was in any way involved in the events leading up to or during the fight, a suspension is not out of question.
Assuming that Maurice Jones-Drew wasn’t involved with the incident because of his not being charged with battery, he is looking to rebound from an injury riddled season last year and reemerge as one of the NFL’s marquee backs. At only 28 years old, he likely has several quality years left in the tank and should be an impact player once again. The injury that derailed his season last year was a lisfranc injury, one that heals but carries with it a lingering pain.
Jacksonville needs for Jones-Drew to be back to his former self this season if it has any hopes of winning games. Blaine Gabbert has struggled mightily to this point in his career, and as a result the offense depends heavily on its rushing attack. When healthy Jones-Drew has handled some of the highest carry totals in the league as a result of the rest of his offense being inept.
Maurice Jones-Drew has not been charged in the incident, and now will put it behind him. With training camp right around the corner, his focus can return to the field and establishing working relationships and chemistry with a plethora of new talent around him.
Follow me on Twitter @CharlieGille
Senior Sports Editor
The Guardian Express