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Coleman faces battery charges

Bucs starting offensive lineman's status for Sunday's game is unclear.

By BRADY DENNIS, Times Staff Writer
© St. Petersburg Times
published October 23, 2002

TAMPA -- Cosey Coleman, a 23-year-old starting offensive lineman for the Buccaneers, was arrested Monday on charges he dragged his girlfriend from a car by her feet during an argument, police said.

Coleman, a 6-foot-4, 322-pound lineman drafted in 2000, faces a misdemeanor charge of domestic battery.

Police said Coleman and his live-in girlfriend began arguing over their 8-month-old son about 3:30 p.m. Monday outside the son's day care center on N Boulevard.

The girlfriend tried to leave in her sport utility vehicle, but not before Coleman reached inside the window and slapped her while he held his son, reports said.

Police said the woman ran to Coleman's car and drove away but returned a short time later, at which time Coleman "again attacked her."

". . .As she sat in the car he pushed, kicked, and slapped her and pulled her out of the car by her feet, causing her head to land on the pavement," reports said. "The victim ran as the defendant chased her."

Coleman left when police were called, but later turned himself in. Police did not release his girlfriend's name.

The former University of Tennessee player, known throughout the Buccaneers organization as a popular and respected teammate with a softspoken demeanor, has no prior criminal record in Florida.

He was booked into the Orient Road Jail on Monday evening.

Coleman entered a not-guilty plea before Hillsborough County Judge Walter Heinrich on Tuesday. Heinrich ordered Coleman released on his own recognizance. The judge also ordered that he have no contact with the victim.

Gary Trombley, Coleman's attorney, said the case stemmed from a one-time incident. "I don't believe the alleged victim is going to prosecute," Trombley said. "She's advised me she's not going to press charges."

Even if that's the case, said Hillsborough State Attorney Mark Ober, it does not let Coleman off the hook.

"There's really no reason we couldn't proceed at this point," Ober said. "We try cases all the time without victims. We're trying to prevent the cycle of violence. We're looking at the case in its totality, but right now, we're going to pursue the case."

Coleman emerged from jail Tuesday wearing a Boston Celtics jersey and jeans, walking calmly past television news crews.

"I apologize for any embarrassment that I may have caused to my teammates, my coaches, the Buccaneers organization and our fans," Coleman said in a statement. "I will work to resolve this situation as quickly as possible."

On the field, Coleman has become a key starter as right guard on a struggling Bucs offensive line. Bucs general manager Rich McKay declined to say if Coleman faces disciplinary action from the team, or if he will play Sunday against the Panthers.

"Until we have further information and the legal system runs its course," McKay said in a statement, "it is not appropriate for us to comment on this."

-- Times staff writers Chris Goffard and Roger Mills contributed to this report.

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