Illinois Staff Member Charged After Allegedly Pointing Gun at Fellow Officials

Matt FitzgeraldCorrespondent IIINovember 25, 2013

Matt Sinclair, playing for Illinois in 2004.
Matt Sinclair, playing for Illinois in 2004.Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

Former Illinois Fighting Illini linebacker Matt Sinclair joined his alma mater's coaching staff in April as the assistant director of player personnel and relations. On Monday, he was charged with two felonies after allegedly aiming an unloaded handgun at a vehicle full of fellow Illini staff members, per the Chicago Tribune.

According to Champaign County State's Attorney Julia Rietz, Sinclair was arraigned on two felony counts of unlawful use of a weapon.

The incident occurred on Saturday, when Sinclair was driving home following the team's game against the Big Ten rival Purdue Boilermakers. Sinclair allegedly pointed the unloaded gun while driving his truck on Illinois' Interstate 74.

It was at that point, approximately 4 p.m., that someone called the police. Officers searched Sinclair's truck and found a loaded magazine for the handgun along with brass knuckles in his glove compartment.

Rietz, who said Sinclair told his colleagues he was joking, also stated that the brass knuckles cost Sinclair an additional misdemeanor charge.

In an email statement, Illini head coach Tim Beckman said Sinclair "clearly had a lapse in judgment after returning to Champaign-Urbana on Saturday." It is unclear if the school will take any action against Sinclair.

Sinclair, 31, has yet to hire a lawyer, and the Champaign resident has a phone that is disconnected.

In playing for the Illini from 2001 to 2004, the alumnus enjoyed three seasons as a starter.

After not being selected in the 2005 NFL draft, Sinclair had a stint with the Baltimore Ravens practice squad as a rookie before joining the Miami Dolphins in 2006 and the Washington Redskins in 2007.