Casting a larger shadow of doubt on his future with the Browns, wide receiver Davone Bess was arrested Friday morning at the Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport in Florida and charged with assaulting an officer, resisting arrest and disorderly conduct, according to a police report obtained by the Beacon Journal.
The report describes Bess as unstable and likely under the influence of drugs, but even more startling than the recent arrest is what the Miami Herald uncovered Friday evening. A month before the Browns acquired Bess in a trade with the Miami Dolphins, Broward Sheriff’s Office deputies found him in a similar incoherent, violent condition on March 11, 2013, at his home in Cooper City, Fla., restrained him and, at his family’s request, hospitalized him without his consent, the Herald reported.
The police were called to Bess’ home that night, and when the first deputy arrived, he witnessed several large men trying to restrain Bess and noted a strong smell of cannabis coming from the master bedroom, according to the incident report unearthed by the Herald. Bess started screaming, “Hide the guns,” “Where is my weed,” and “I want to get in the end zone; throw me the football,” according to the report.
An attempt to sedate him was unsuccessful. After six officers pinned him down, he was hospitalized for observation.
On April 26, the Browns traded fourth- and fifth-round draft picks to the Dolphins in exchange for Bess and fourth- and seventh-round selections. The Browns then signed him to a three-year, $11.5 million contract extension through 2016, which includes $5.75 million guaranteed. He’s scheduled to make $3.067 million in 2014.
A Browns spokesman did not immediately return a voicemail or a text message from the Beacon Journal seeking comment about whether the team knew Bess had been hospitalized before the trade. Either way, Bess has been a colossal disappointment since the move was made, and the choice to acquire him could haunt CEO Joe Banner, General Manager Mike Lombardi and other members of the player personnel department.
Bess left the team last month to deal with family issues and missed the final two games. He has since displayed troubling behavior via social media and his run-in with the law Friday. A source familiar with the situation said the family issues have led to medical issues for Bess. The person spoke on condition of anonymity because he wasn’t authorized to discuss the matter.
It wouldn’t be surprising if the Browns cut Bess as a result of his troubles. They wouldn’t be able to do so until Feb. 3, the day after the Super Bowl.
Bess made headlines each of the past two days for his strange behavior.
Records show Bess was booked into the Broward County Jail after he was arrested at the airport at 6:19 a.m. Friday. He posted $100 bond at 10:23 a.m. and was released from custody, a public information officer at the Broward County Sheriff’s Office said. A court date has yet to be scheduled.
A Browns spokesman said the team was aware of the situation and working to gather more details.
In the arrest report, Broward Sheriff’s deputy Thomas O’Brien stated he was working a TSA detail at the airport when several passengers notified him Bess was in the concourse “acting irrationally, dancing, singing with his pants repeatedly falling down.”
O’Brien stated he asked Bess if he was all right but received no response. Bess then grabbed a cup of hot coffee not belonging to him and squeezed the cup until it broke and the liquid went all over O’Brien’s uniform, according to the statement.
Bess, 28, then took a fighting stance several feet away from O’Brien, and O’Brien responded by striking Bess in the leg with a baton, which O’Brien stated had “no effect.” Bess then removed his shirt and got into a fighting stance again, ignoring O’Brien’s orders to get on the ground, according to the statement. Backup units arrived shortly after, and Bess complied and was taken into custody.
“Bess appeared to be under the influence of an unknown narcotic due to his irrational behavior,” O’Brien concluded in the report. “He appeared to be looking through me when I was talking to him.”
The arrest came on the heels of a photograph surfacing on Bess’ official Twitter account Thursday morning showing what appeared to be a cigar on a table beside marijuana. A separate photo posted minutes later showed Bess posing with a woman in a garage with a cigarette or cigarillo in his mouth.
“The team is aware of the photos and looking further into the situation, and will deal with the matter internally,” a Browns spokesman said Thursday. NFL spokesman Greg Aiello said the league had no comment.
On Dec. 20, the day after Bess left the team, a photo posted on his Instagram account showed him sitting outdoors on a deck next to a picture of reggae icon Bob Marley and lighting a cigarette or cigarillo with a Rasta flag draped around his shoulders and neck.
The next day, the Browns placed Bess on the reserve/non-football illness list, ending his season with two games left. Ex-Browns coach Rob Chudzinski explained Bess had been dealing with a family issue but declined further comment.
“Davone, he’s going through a family, personal matter, a personal issue,” Chudzinski said Dec. 23 during a news conference. “We’re going to give him all of the support we can through this. Beyond that, I’m not going to go into any detail.”
Bess had more than 50 catches in each of his first five NFL seasons, but he never came close to meeting expectations in his first year with the Browns. He had 42 receptions for 362 yards and two touchdowns. According to ProFootballFocus.com, he finished second in the NFL with 14 dropped passes. He also muffed a crucial punt Oct. 27 in the fourth quarter of the Browns’ 23-17 loss to the Kansas City Chiefs.
Now his chances of redeeming himself on the field are in jeopardy.
By Nate Ulrich - Akron Beacon Journal (MCT)
©2014 the Akron Beacon Journal (Akron, Ohio)
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