Updates from Thursday, July 17
Mark Snyder of the Detroit Free Press passed along the latest developments from Taylor Lewan's hearing:
John Glennon of The Tennessean also reported on the next steps in the case against Lewan:
Tennessee Titans offensive lineman Taylor Lewan is set to be arraigned Monday on three misdemeanor assault charges dating back to his playing days at the University of Michigan.
Lewan, who attended the Titans' rookie mini camp over the weekend, will appear at the Ann Arbor District Court as prosecutors go forward with one count of aggravated assault and two counts of assault and battery, per ClickOnDetroit.com. Tennessee selected Lewan with the No. 11 overall pick in this month's NFL draft, and he is expected to compete for a starting spot.
The Titans and all NFL teams were well aware of Lewan's off-field troubles. Lewan was originally expected to be arraigned in April, but the date was pushed back at the request of the former Wolverine star's attorney, John Shea.
"When an attorney is involved, it is common in this court for the arraignment to be adjourned and combined with the next stage in the process, the pretrial hearing," Shea told Michael Rothstein of ESPN.com. "In this case, given the schedules of the parties and the available pretrial dates of the court, the first available arraignment and pre trial date was May 19. So that is the date I requested."
Lewan was later adjourned until June 16, per Michael Rothstein of ESPN:
Lewan, appearing in Michigan's 15th district court, requested the adjournment to continue to investigate the report. The hearing has been scheduled for June 16. The Titans' first minicamp is scheduled to start June 17.
Lewan is charged with one count of misdemeanor aggravated assault and two counts of assault and battery
Lewan was released on a $5,000 personal recognizance bond and is not allowed to have contact with alleged victims and must refrain from alcohol or drug use.
Lewan, through his attorney John Shea, declined to comment.
Police allege Lewan, 22, assaulted two Ohio State fans after Michigan's heartbreaking 42-41 loss to the Buckeyes on Nov. 30. Court documents say Lewan was the aggressor in a brawl just after the midnight hour, leaving the two fans with minor injuries.
Lewan has contended that the charges are erroneous. Though details about the alleged brawl will be clearer when the case goes to trial, Lewan told reporters at a post-draft conference call that he was actually attempting to break up an already ongoing fight.
"I was completely breaking things up," Lewan said. "I did push guys to get everything out of the way. I never struck a man (with a) closed fist or anything of that nature. The thing is, I explained to (the Titans) everything and told them the truth, that's what it was. I'm happy that (the Titans) believed me."
Prosecutors have nonetheless chosen to move forward with the case. Neither of the two men Lewan allege were the actual aggressors in the incident have been charged, nor are they expected to be.
Lewan also came into the draft process with questions about his character stemming from a teammate's alleged sexual assault. As a freshman, documents allege that Lewan threatened to "rape" a woman who said she was sexually assaulted by then-Michigan kicker Brendan Gibbons.
Lewan has also denied those allegations. Titans general manager Ruston Webster said the team spoke with Lewan about the incidents in detail prior to selecting him and are satisfied with the answers they received.
"We addressed those with Taylor. We addressed them prior (to the draft)," Webster said. "Obviously, we talked about it even (Thursday) just to make sure. I feel pretty comfortable with where he is. Taylor is a tough guy. I feel pretty comfortable that we're going to get a solid guy here."
A four-year starter at Michigan, Lewan should provide a long-term answer for Tennessee at the left tackle spot. He's an aggressive, tough player who probably would have been a top-10 selection had he left Michigan a year earlier.
The answer of when his reign in the starting lineup begins is unclear. The Titans already have two veteran starting tackles in Michael Roos and Michael Oher. Roos is 31, but he's also been a consistent lineup fixture since Tennessee drafted him in 2005. Oher just signed a four-year deal to man the right tackle spot this offseason.
While it was a curious decision to select Lewan, Roos and Oher might wind up providing a much-needed insurance policy.
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