The attempted suicide of Dimitrius Underwood, the troubled Dolphins player who was found on a Lansing, Mich., street Sunday bleeding from a knife wound in the neck, was influenced by a "cult that's posing as a church," his mother said yesterday.
Underwood, who cut his throat at his girlfriend's home, was upgraded to fair condition at Sparrow Hospital in Michigan, according to a spokesman. A source told the Miami Herald he is under heavy sedation so he can be relatively comfortable and to ensure he does no further harm to himself.
Lansing police confirmed the knife wound was self-inflicted. The suicide attempt came after a three-hour long-distance call from his sister who desperately pleaded with Underwood not to kill himself. He grabbed the knife and cut his neck while visiting Chasity Dyer, the mother of his two children.
Underwood's sister, Andrea Underwood, said he will have a tube in his throat for the next 10 days while he recovers from the wounds. She also said her brother must undergo a psychiatric evaluation, mandated by Michigan law, as part of his recovery.
Lansing police spokesman Ray Hall said Underwood's wounds were self-inflicted but said no charges will be filed against him.
Underwood, a defensive lineman who was a first-round draft choice of the Minnesota Vikings, made headlines recently when he walked out on the multimillion-dollar contract with the Vikings, citing a conflict between football and his religion. The Dolphins signed Underwood to a $395,000 contract when the Vikings released him.
Dolphins Coach Jimmy Johnson opened his regular news conference yesterday with a statement about Underwood but declined to answer questions on the subject.
"I have talked to the nurses there and have passed along the word that we are 100 percent supportive of him," Johnson said. "Our number one concern is his health and his well-being."
Underwood will undergo an evaluation by Thursday, his agent, Craig Domann, said. The results will dictate the next step. If he is deemed competent, Domann said, the doctor will talk to the Dolphins about his condition and advise them on what he thinks they should do.
Domann said the Dolphins have expressed to him they are prepared to provide Underwood with whatever treatment is necessary.
Underwood is being attended to by hospital staff as well as Dyer, who was present along with their 17-month-old twins when Underwood tried to take his life.
Underwood returned his $1.725 million signing bonus after leaving without permission from the Minnesota Vikings this summer.
He missed several plane flights to and from Minnesota during that time and, at one point, was found pondering his future in a Philadelphia hotel room. He had $8 in his pockets.
The Vikings eventually cut Underwood, 22, and the Dolphins claimed him off the waiver list.
Underwood's status with the Dolphins is in limbo at least for 10 days while he recovers. He can be placed on the reserve/nonfootball injury list, which allows the team to retain his rights, or the Dolphins could carry Underwood on their roster and play one player short of the 53-man limit.
According to the NFL collective bargaining agreement, Underwood's hospital stay is covered by the NFL insurance carrier despite the fact the wounds were self-inflicted.