After being indicted in Houston on Friday on a felony charge of injuring the elderly, Philadelphia Eagles defensive end Michael Bennett turned himself in on Monday afternoon. He appeared in a Houston court and was released on $10,000 bail. Bennett’s lawyer, Rusty Hardin, requested that Bennett be released without bail, and that no handcuffs be used in the courtroom. Judge Robert Johnson rejected both requests.
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Bennett’s felony charge stems from an incident at Super Bowl LI in Houston. Bennett was at the game to support his brother, fellow NFL player Martellus Bennett. Prosecutors and police are accusing Bennett of injuring a 66-year-old paraplegic woman while he was pushing his way onto the field once the game was over. The woman was working security at NRG Stadium, and had allegedly told Bennett that he had to use a different way to get onto the field.
Bennett was at his home in Hawaii when the indictment came down on Friday, and the judge is allowing him to travel to and from his home while he’s out on bail. The judge also issued a no-contact rule for Bennett and and the woman he’s accused of injuring.
Monday afternoon, Eagles VP of football operations Howie Roseman said that he was not aware of the incident until Friday’s indictment. He said the team did an extensive background check on Bennett, as it does all their players. He added that he does not believe the Seahawks, who traded Bennett to the Eagles on March 7, did anything wrong.
There are a few ways the case could go from here. The Houston Police Department has acknowledged that they have no photo or video evidence of the alleged felony, which is going to make it difficult to prove that Bennett actions were intentional or the result of aggression. If the incident was an accident, then Bennett didn’t commit a crime.
There’s also the possibility that Bennett could avoid a trial altogether. He could reach a plea deal with the prosecutor, which would most likely involve him paying a fine and doing community service.
A lot of Bennett’s future is up in the air right now, and that includes his status with the Eagles and the NFL. The Eagles could potentially release him — Roseman would not comment on the future other than to say he wants to let the legal process play out — and the NFL could suspend him. Keep in mind, the NFL suspended Ezekiel Elliott for six games and he was never charged with a crime.
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