The cornerbacks — Breon Borders, Dee Delaney, Coty Sensabaugh and Kayvon Webster — were signed in December to bolster the Redskins’ depth as injuries ravaged the position. But Nicholson was a starter, a player the Redskins relied on since he flashed as a fourth-round draft pick in 2017. Yet the safety soon became more known for what he did off the field than he did on it.
In November, a woman overdosed on fentanyl at Nicholson’s home, and Nicholson and a friend dropped her off at the emergency room. The woman, Julia Crabbe, 21, was pronounced dead a short time later. Crabbe had been dating Nicholson for a few months, according to Crabbe’s family, and a search of Nicholson’s home the day after Crabbe died turned up marijuana, pills and foil with residue. Police said Nicholson was cooperating with the investigation, and no charges were filed.
Not long after Crabbe’s death, a group of 15 family members and friends stood at the Redskins’ facility to demand action against Nicholson. The group, which included Crabbe’s mother, Michelle, wore black T-shirts with Julia’s face on them, as well as the hashtags “#justiceforjulia” and “#35nevercalled911” — Nicholson’s jersey number and an allegation of inaction against him.
The Redskins allowed Nicholson to practice following the incident, and then start and play all of the next week’s game against the New York Jets. The decision drew criticism because the game happened three days after Crabbe’s death and during an open investigation. The team gave him the choice to sit or play, Nicholson said, and he opted to play even though “it wasn’t easy at all trying to separate the field from everything that was going on.”
In December 2018, after struggling with injuries that season, Nicholson was arrested and charged with misdemeanor assault. He had gotten in a drunken fight at a shopping complex near the team’s practice facility. Later, even though the charges were dropped, TMZ obtained and published video of Nicholson punching the man and knocking him unconscious.
Two hours before announcing Nicholson’s release, the Redskins officially announced the signing of safety Sean Davis. The former Maryland player figures to replace Nicholson as the Redskins’ starting free safety, though Troy Apke can also play the position and could compete for the job. No matter which way the Redskins go at that spot, though, they have moved on from Nicholson.
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