When the Tennessee Titans chose Pittsburgh linebacker Rashad Weaver in the fourth round of the 2021 NFL Draft, many applauded the team for landing a draft steal.
Then the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reported on Monday morning that Weaver is being charged with assault from an incident at a bar in April, and suddenly, the Titans find themselves in the middle of another firestorm surrounding one of their draft picks.
The Titans released a statement Monday morning contending they did not know about the incident prior to drafting Weaver.
“We were made aware of this news this morning,” the statement read. “We obviously take this seriously and are in the process of gathering details and working with the league.”
The report from the Post-Gazette alleges that on April 18, police responded to a complaint on South 17th Street where they found a woman lying on the ground surrounded by a group of people who stated that someone, later identified as Weaver, had punched the woman, identified as Demetria Navjelis. She was diagnosed with a concussion at a hospital three days later after reported vomiting.
Witnesses said that Weaver and Navjelis were seen engaged in an argument approximately five minutes prior to the alleged assault at the Foxtail Bar, where Navjelis admitted she threw her drink at Weaver.
Officer Anderson O’Kelly stated in the complaint that he did not see any injury to the woman consistent with being punched in the head. The report also noted that Weaver allegedly told officers that he “had no problem hitting a female if they needed it.”
Weaver is scheduled for a hearing on Oct. 5 at Pittsburgh Municipal Court. His attorney, Dennis Blackwell, issued a statement on Monday maintaining Weaver’s innocence.
“The allegations against my client, Rashad Weaver, are completely false and reckless,” Blackwell said. “Mr. Weaver takes these charges very seriously, and we look forward to clearing his good name. Without question and without hesitation, we deny Rashad punched anyone, especially a woman. We intend to conduct a full investigation of these charges and intend to pursue all legal remedies available for Rashad.”
Titans beat writer Paul Kuharsky reported on Monday night that he had spoken with scouts from two other organizations — one claims it knew about the incident and the other said it did not.
Which means one of two things happened: The Titans truthfully did not know about the incident prior to drafting Weaver, or they were aware of the situation but felt Weaver would be cleared.
Either way, after the Isaiah Wilson debacle last year, Weaver’s case is a bad look for the Titans organization, which is either admitting its scouting department didn’t do its job and fully vet all of its draft picks or the team was aware and still drafted a player with a serious red flag.
Follow Michael Gallagher on Twitter @MGsports_