Chicago Bears coach Matt Nagy said Wednesday the team was made aware of the incident involving defensive lineman Mario Edwards Jr. and a 28-year-old woman at a Charlotte, N.C., hotel on the night it happened.
A criminal summons has been issued for Edwards in North Carolina on a charge of misdemeanor assault on a female after the woman claimed, according to TMZ, that Edwards became violent after she turned down his sexual advances in the team hotel Oct. 17. Peter Schaffer, Edwards’ agent, denied the claims against his client and said Edwards tried to de-escalate the situation, which happened on the night before the Bears played the Carolina Panthers.
Schaffer said they informed the NFL and NFLPA on the Monday morning after the incident, and Nagy said the team has worked with the league to address the issue from the start. He also said the team knew of the charge when it was filed.
“We’ve been in lock-step with the NFL on this the entire way,” Nagy said. “It’s something we take very seriously, and it’s not something that I’m going to be adding to because of the legal situation.”
Nagy said Edwards will practice with the team as usual this week. Edwards has played in all eight games since the alleged assault, including against the Panthers the next day.
Nagy said the team also dealt internally with Edwards’ violation of NFL COVID-19 protocol — but wouldn’t say what the penalty was. The protocol states players, coaches and staff who travel to games are “prohibited from congregating, visiting or mingling with individuals outside of the traveling party once they have arrived in the game city.”
NFL spokesman Brian McCarthy said teams and the league may fine players that violate protocol.
“Hopefully you guys can understand I’m not going to get into it right now — even with our own rules and all that stuff,” Nagy said.
A police report obtained by the Tribune from the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department states officers were called to the Hilton Charlotte Uptown “in reference to a female hitting a male with her hand and scratching his forehead.” Edwards and an unidentified woman were both listed as victims on the report, and both were listed as having minor bruises and scratches. The woman received treatment at a hospital and was released, according to the report.
TMZ reported Tuesday morning that, according to court documents, the woman alleged Edwards reacted to her filming their argument by “smacking her in the eye with his hand,” grabbed her arm, “dragged her to the door of the hotel room” and continued the attack down the hall.
Schaffer said Edwards had consensual sexual activity with the woman but never touched her violently. Schaffer claimed the woman became angry after trying to renegotiate the extent of their relationship, but Edwards left and went to hotel security to escape a fight, Schaffer said.
Edwards was a second-round draft pick of the Oakland Raiders in 2015 and has played for four teams over six NFL seasons. The Bears signed Edwards on Sept. 8.