Davis Is Considering Criminal Complaint Against Westbrook

By Richard Justice
Washington Post Staff Writer
Friday, August 22, 1997; Page C6

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MIAMI, Aug. 21 — Washington Redskins running back Stephen Davis has not ruled out filing a criminal complaint against wide receiver Michael Westbrook for Tuesday’s attack that left Davis’s right eye swollen virtually shut.

"I don’t think he has decided," said Ryan Schinman, Davis’s agent. "He’s really a team guy and this probably was a spur of the moment outbreak by Michael. I don’t think it had anything to do with Stephen."

Schinman said Davis is discussing the matter with his family before deciding whether to pursue a criminal complaint. Fights are a regular part of training camp, but they almost always happen in the heat of battle when offensive and defensive players get carried away with the competition between one another.

This fight was different because neither player was on the field at the time of the attack. Davis, still recovering from knee surgery, was wearing only shorts and a T-shirt.

It’s still unclear what prompted the attack. Redskins Coach Norv Turner repeated today that nothing Davis could have said would have justified the kind of pummeling Westbrook administered.

Turner suspended Westbrook for tonight’s preseason game against the Miami Dolphins and fined him $10,000. He also has taken his starting job away for the regular season opener Aug. 31 against Carolina.

However, Turner wants to talk to Davis before deciding on any additional action, according to sources. One source said Turner still is considering not playing Westbrook in the opener or asking him to consider anger counseling.

"Norv wants to hear what Michael has to say," a source said. "Norv is very angry about this."

An eye specialist examined Davis today and told Davis that he will make a full recovery. He originally was scheduled to return to practice Saturday, and Schinman said he only needed clearance from the eye doctor. His knee injury appears to be healed enough to allow him to return.

"Stephen is upset he’s not on this trip, but there’s nothing he can do about it," Schinman said. "The good news is the doctor anticipates a full recovery."

Several players were standing around when Westbrook apparently took exception to something Davis had said. Westbrook’s agent, Stephen Zucker, said Wednesday the two players have had problems for more than a year.

Davis was caught by surprise by the punches and was on the ground covering his face with his hands as Westbrook landed at least three hard punches.

"It was guys being guys," Schinman said. "Michael took something the wrong way. I don’t know what caused it. Stephen is the nicest kid in the world. He never has a bad thing to say about anyone. There are a lot of egos on every team. Stephen doesn’t have one. It was a situation that arrived, and Michael acted out of frustration."

The Redskins declined to comment on the matter of criminal charges. Turner urged Davis to "let me handle it," Turner said.

Meanwhile, Westbrook maintained his public silence. Westbrook’s publicist, Beverly Hunt, said he was not yet ready to make a public statement, but one could be forthcoming as early as Friday.

Westbrook will meet with Turner on Saturday before, presumably, returning to practice with the team. He also will be asked to make a formal apology to the team.

Unlucky Seven
Coaches return to Redskin Park on Friday to begin considering the final seven cuts. The roster is set at quarterback, wide receiver, tight end, linebacker and cornerback, but there are a few decisions at other positions.

Dexter Nottage and Romeo Bandison appeared to be competing for the eighth and final defensive line spot.

Running back William Bell and tackle Andre Johnson appear to be competing for the final offensive slot.

© Copyright 1997 The Washington Post Company

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