The Browns cut undrafted rookie linebacker Ausar Walcott on Wednesday after he was charged with attempted murder a day earlier in New Jersey.
Walcott, 23, is accused of punching a man outside a bar in Passaic, N.J., the Bergen County Record reported.
The Browns signed Walcott, a native of Hackensack, N.J., on May 13 after he tried out for the team during its rookie minicamp. He was a four-year letterman at the University of Virginia.
The Browns issued the following statement Wednesday morning: “We are aware of the situation. This is a pending legal matter, and we will not comment.”
They announced Walcott’s release from the team at 12:35 p.m. Wednesday. The team has yet to fill its vacant roster spot.
Walcott punched Derrick Jones, 24, in the head outside the Palace Gentlemen’s Club about 3 a.m. Sunday, Passaic Detective Andrew White told the Record. Jones remained hospitalized in critical condition Wednesday at Harlem Hospital Center in Manhattan.
The 6-foot-2, 230-pound Walcott was charged with first-degree attempted murder, second-degree aggravated assault and third-degree endangering an injured victim, White told the Record. Police arrested Walcott on Tuesday morning after he turned himself in, according to the report.
Walcott’s bail was set at $500,000, and he was booked Tuesday in the Passaic County Jail in Paterson, N.J., according to jail records. His first hearing is scheduled for this morning.
Walcott spent most of the past two months with the Browns in Northeast Ohio. He and the rest of the team’s undrafted rookies were allowed to return home June 20, three days before the incident outside the bar.
Meanwhile, the team’s five drafted rookies received lessons this week about how to stay out of trouble during the NFL Rookie Symposium, which is being held in Aurora and features trips to the Browns’ training facility in Berea and the Pro Football Hall of Fame in Canton. Undrafted rookies are not invited to the symposium.
During his college days at Virginia, Walcott faced charges of assault and battery and was suspended from the football team stemming from a fight in January 2011 near the campus of James Madison University, the Washington Post reported. All charges against Walcott were eventually dropped, and he was reinstated to the team in April 2011.
Walcott started 22 of the 45 games in which he appeared at Virginia from 2009-12. He had 128 tackles, 1.5 sacks, four passes defensed and one fumble recovery during his collegiate career.
The Browns have repeatedly been in the headlines for their legal woes this offseason.
Team owner Jimmy Haslam’s family business, Pilot Flying J, was raided and is at the center of an ongoing federal investigation into a fraud scheme. Defensive end Desmond Bryant was charged with criminal mischief and is being sued for allegedly attempting to barge into a family’s home while intoxicated and incoherent. Linebacker Quentin Groves was charged with solicitation in a prostitution sting, and rookie defensive end Armonty Bryant, a seventh-round draft pick, was charged with driving under the influence of alcohol.
Walcott is the only one with whom the team has severed ties.
Nate Ulrich can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Read the Browns blog at http://www.ohio.com/browns. Follow him on Twitter at www.twitter.com/NateUlrichABJ and on Facebook www.facebook.com/browns.abj.