Carolina Panthers

Bridges drops NFL appeal

CHARLOTTE -- After getting assurance from the NFL he'd face no further penalties, Carolina Panthers offensive lineman Jeremy Bridges has rescinded his appeal of a previous assault conviction.

Bridges was found guilty of assault by pointing a gun in November, during one of the most bizarre court proceedings in recent memory.

He was arrested the day before training cap started last year following an incident outside Club Onyx, a South Charlotte strip club. After the club closed, he was trying to get one of his friends away from an argument with entertainer Chevella Coleman. In an effort to break up the altercation, Bridges went to his chauffeured car and got a gun, which he allegedly pointed at Coleman.

In November, Bridges was found guilty in District Court and was sentenced to a 60-day suspended sentence, one year of unsupervised probation, 60 hours of community service, a $500 fine, payment of court costs and to surrender the handgun.

Following the arrest, the Panthers also suspended him for the first two games of last season. Bridges told his attorney he didn't expect further punishment from the league under the NFL's personal conduct policy, and as a result, Bridges said he'd forego his planned appeal.

Attorney George Laughrun filed the motion to remand on Monday, and it will be finalized in court on Wednesday.

"He just said that when he found out the league wasn't going to take any more action, he was ready to move on," Laughrun said of Bridges' decision. "He said he didn't want to put anybody through a trial."

That robs the city of what would have at least been great entertainment, since the last court appearance quickly took on a "The Jerry Springer Show" atmosphere.

One of the witnesses against Bridges, Michael Fowler, showed up to testify wearing a black evening dress with a gold belt and matching high heels. Since it was a sleeveless dress, the "Mike Mike" tattoo on his left arm was clearly visible.

When Fowler took the stand that day, Laughrun asked "Is it Mr. Fowler or Miss Fowler?" to an immediate objection from prosecution attorneys as Fowler huffed, "Mister."

Coleman's witnesses also included her pregnant ex-girlfriend, although she set the stage for that when one of her first statements under oath was, "I don't even date men," when asked about her relationship with Bridges' friend Darrell Bennett.

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