Thursday, May 18, 2006
Updated: May 20, 2:53 PM ET
Manning Jr., Drew charged with assault after fight
ESPN.com news services
Chicago Bears cornerback Ricky Manning Jr. and two former UCLA football players were charged with assault Thursday for allegedly taking part in an early-morning fight at a restaurant last month.
Manning was charged with one count of assault by means likely to produce great bodily injury, Deputy District Attorney Karen Murcia said.
His arraignment, scheduled for Thursday, was postponed to May 26. Manning has previously declined comment.
Manning, a former UCLA star, was arrested April 23, along with former Bruins Tyler Ebell and Maurice Drew, after they allegedly attacked a man at a restaurant near the UCLA campus in Westwood.
Police said the players then drove off in Manning's SUV but were pulled over by officers soon after when the vehicle was spotted by a helicopter crew.
All three were released on $30,000 bail each.
Ebell, 22, and Drew were expected to surrender and be arraigned at a later date, Murcia said.
Drew, 21, was taken by the Jacksonville Jaguars in the second round of the NFL draft. The running back attended mini-camp in Florida last month.
"Maurice had no involvement in any altercation that took place at the Denny's restaurant that evening," Drew's agent, Adisa Bakari, said in a statement released to the Dayton Daily News. "He was only at the Denny's restaurant for a short period of time. Contrary to inaccurate media reports, he was not with Ricky Manning that evening -- they did not arrive at the Denny's together nor did they leave together. Maurice was not one of the two individuals in the vehicle with Manning when Manning and those individuals were reported to have been detained by police that evening.
"Media reports that Maurice was arrested that evening are also false. He was not even interviewed or questioned by police that evening. ... The filing of the assault charge on Thursday was a complete surprise. No indication had been given that Maurice was considered a suspect in the investigation. In the month since the incident is alleged to have occurred, Maurice has never been interviewed or questioned by the police or the district attorney's office about this incident, nor have any of the individuals with him that evening."
Manning, 25, signed with the Bears last month after the Carolina Panthers declined to match Chicago's offer sheet. He is on probation for an assault in April 2002. If convicted, he faces up to four years in state prison.
The Bears did not return messages seeking comment.
Ebell played two seasons at UCLA before transferring to UTEP after the 2003 season. He rushed for 536 yards and scored five touchdowns in seven games in 2005.
Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.