Thompson denies charges, defends reputation

OWINGS MILLS — Issuing an emphatic denial that he threatened to kill a Baltimore woman during a Sunday telephone call, Ravens assistant coach Bennie Thompson said he wanted to set the record straight and defend his reputation. Thompson, 40, was arrested Sunday evening and released from jail Monday morning on his own recognizance after a bail hearing regarding charges of violating a protective order and telephone harassment.

Nikki Walden, a friend of Thompson's former girl-friend, Nancy Lee, told police that Thompson threatened to kill her and repeatedly called her. However, the protective order was granted to Lee, not Walden, in Howard County last week.

At work Tuesday at the Ravens' training complex, Thompson denied the allegations and said he was shocked that he was arrested Sunday at his home in Pikesville.

"She said I called her and threatened her and told her I was going to kill her. That is absolutely not true," Thomp-son said. "I'm here trying to defend myself to the type of person I am.

"Everybody loves me and I get along with everybody. I don't want this thing to come out to make it look like I'm a bad guy who called and threatened to kill people."

Thompson was reportedly charged with assault, harass-ment and malicious destruction of property in complaints filed by Lee in Howard and Carroll counties, but Thompson said he knows nothing of any other pending charges in regards to his ex-girlfriend.

Thompson acknowledges speaking to Walden, but denied several times that he threatened her life or bodily harm.

"I don't know what she [Walden] looks like and don't care anything about the girl.

Thompson said. "I've never seen here, though I've talked to her. And she said I threat-ened to kill her? Why would I threaten to kill her if she is my ex-girlfriend's supposed friend?

"I'm not a woman-beater. I beat up on football players. I don't have to beat up on a woman."

Thompson is a special teams assistant and a former Raven who appeared in two Pro Bowls as a special teams ace and played 11 years in the NFL.

He said he has received a lot of moral support from friends around Baltimore and nationally.

"My kids look up to me," Thompson said. ‘I have an image to uphold. I just want to make it clear who I am, not that wild, crazy guy that runs down on kickoffs. I'm not that type of person."

Thompson's attorney, Terry Lavenstein, indicated that the judge encouraged the prosecutor to consider dropping the charges at the bail hearing, which the prosecutor declined to do.

A court date has been set for June, but Lavenstein said he was confident the case will be thrown out before Thompson has to appear.

Thompson echoed his law-yer's suggestion that the charges may have been finan-cially motivated. "I don't know what the impetus for these girls is, but is may be money-related," said Terry Lavenstein, Thomp-son's lawyer. "The girlfriend asked Bennie for more money. When he said no, these charges came the next day.

"From a circumstantial standpoint, it seems fishy, but I'll have to delve into it further."

NOTE: The Ravens' preseason game against the Washington Redskins has been shifted from Aug. 24 to Aug. 23 with an 8 p.m. kickoff at FedEx Field.

Aaron Wilson writes for The Carroll County Times.

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