June 26, 2016

Intermittent clouds

Browns: Ausar Walcott released following arrest

As the Browns’ draft picks were participating in the four-day NFL Rookie Symposium in Northeast Ohio designed to help them lead successful lives off the field, undrafted linebacker Ausar Walcott was charged with attempted murder in New Jersey.

Walcott was arrested Tuesday after allegedly punching a man in the head outside a strip club in Passaic, N.J., authorities told The (Bergen County) Record newspaper.

Ausar Walcott

The Browns wasted little time in releasing Walcott after the news broke Wednesday. The team made the announcement in a one-sentence release.

Only draft picks are invited and required to attend the symposium, which includes speeches by current and former professional athletes who’ve had legal problems.

Walcott, 23, was signed May 13 out of the University of Virginia. He participated in the organized team activities and minicamp but was a long shot to make the team.

Walcott, a native of Hackensack, N.J., allegedly punched 24-year-old Derrick Jones in the head at 3 a.m. Sunday outside the Palace Gentleman’s Club. Jones, from New York City, was critically injured, Detective Andrew White of the Passaic police told The Record.

Walcott, 23, is charged with first-degree attempted murder, second-degree aggravated assault and third-degree endangering an injured victim, Salvatore Bellomo, a senior assistant prosecutor, told The Associated Press.

Walcott turned himself in, and his bail was set at $500,000.

Gordon Whiting, Walcott’s high school coach at Hackensack High School, said he was “shocked” to hear he had been arrested. Whiting said Walcott had been working out at the school before his tryout with the Browns last month.

“He is a great kid, a hard-working kid,” Whiting told The Record. “He was never a discipline problem.”

The Browns have had several off-the-field problems in the first offseason under their new regime.

Owner Jimmy Haslam is under investigation by the FBI regarding an alleged fraud scheme run by his family’s truck-stop company, Pilot Flying J.

Linebacker Quentin Groves was found guilty of disorderly contact after entering a no contest plea following an arrest for soliciting an undercover police officer as part of a prostitution sting operation.

Seventh-round draft pick Armonty Bryant, a defensive end, pleaded no contest to a misdemeanor DUI charge and received a one-year deferred sentence.

And receiver Josh Gordon was suspended for the first two games of the season for violating the league’s substance-abuse policy.

Contact Scott Petrak at (440) 329-7253 or spetrak@chroniclet.com.