Locklear Charged, Released, Expected to Start

An assault charge has been filed against Seahawks tackle Sean Locklear, according to the Associated Press. The charge stems from an arrest early Sunday morning when three witnesses at a Seattle bar claimed to see Locklear wrap both hands around his girlfriend's neck.

Photo Caption: Seattle Seahawks starting right tackle Sean Locklear appears in King County Court for investigation of domestic violence on Tuesday Jan. 17, 2006 in Seattle, Wash. Locklear was booked early Sunday hours after playing in the team's playoff win over the Washington Redskins. (AP Photo/Kevin P. Casey)

Locklear claims he grabbed her shirt, not neck. Although the girlfriend pleaded with police that he did nothing wrong, due to the witness testimony an arrest was mandatory.

Due to the courts being closed to observe the Martin Luther King holiday on Monday, Locklear was unable to be released from King County Jail until Tuesday, when he was released without bail.

The AP story reported that Municipal Court Judge Edsonya Charles ordered Locklear to have no contact with his girlfriend, who lives with him. He also must abstain from alcohol and other drugs while the case is pending. A second court date was set for Feb. 13.

Locklear’s charge, which is a gross misdemeanor, has a potential penalty of up to one year in jail and a $5,000 fine.

A spokeswoman for the Seattle City Attorney's office said Prosecuting Attorney Derek Smith felt it was more important to get a no-contact order than to require Locklear to post bail.

"He's a rich football player and could afford any bail," spokeswoman Ruth Bowman said. "It's a high profile case; it's not exactly like he would skip town."

Locklear made no statement in court Tuesday. He simply answered yes or no questions from the judge.

Locklear has retained the law firm Fox Bowman Duarte of Bellevue, The Seattle Times and Seattle Post-Intelligencer reported Tuesday.

"At this point the firm is investigating the case and there will be no comment until the investigation is complete," said Jon Scott Fox, a partner in the firm, in a statement issued late Monday. "Mr. Locklear has been cooperating fully with this investigation and throughout this case remains entitled to the presumption of innocence afforded to all citizens."

Interestingly, Fox' firm is primarily known for DUI defense. The firm's website touts Fox Bowman Duarte as a firm whose attorneys are "regularly called upon to educate judges, defense attorneys, civil attorneys, the legislature, and even law enforcement about the complex DUI laws and procedures."

Locklear's status for the NFC Championship Game against the Carolina Panthers on Sunday had been unclear. But ESPN’s John Clayton reported on Tuesday afternoon’s SportsCenter that Locklear will start. Seahawks head coach Mike Holmgren said at his Monday press conference he didn't think the incident would be a distraction to his team.

"What I know about it so far -- and I don't know everything -- it should not be," Holmgren said Monday, without specifically addressing Locklear's playing status.

"I have to wait on details on that. I am aware of the situation. But right now, I have no comment. When we get more information, [we] will give it to you," Holmgren said.

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