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Steelers Steelers' LB injured in fight

Foote's thumb hurt near Michigan campus

Tuesday, February 04, 2003

By Ed Bouchette, Post-Gazette Sports Writer

Steelers linebacker Larry Foote was treated yesterday at a Michigan hospital for a thumb injury that occurred during a brawl near the University of Michigan campus.

Foote, 22, was treated early yesterday morning in an emergency room of the University of Michigan Medical Center, a hospital spokesman confirmed.

Ann Arbor police arrested a 22-year-old man for disorderly conduct after they found him punching another man during a melee that included 20-30 men outside the Pizza House, according to the Ann Arbor News. The paper, citing a police report, said the man complained of a thumb injury and was treated at the University of Michigan Medical Center.

Sgt. Angelea Abrams of the Ann Arbor police said yesterday that "the combatants and those arrested" have not been arraigned and probably would not be until next week. She said they would not be identified until then, and she could neither confirm nor deny that Foote was arrested.

Ron Wahl, the Steelers' communications coordinator, said team officials were aware Foote had injured his thumb in a fight and were trying to get more information about the incident. "It's my understanding," Wahl said, "that no charges will be filed" against Foote.

Foote, who played at the University of Michigan, was the Steelers' fourth-round draft choice last year. He started four regular-season games and one playoff game for injured inside linebacker Kendrell Bell.

According to the Ann Arbor News, a large fight broke out early Monday morning inside the Pizza House and spilled onto the street. Officers used pepper spray and arrested a 22-year-old man when they found him on top of another, punching him. The man told police that he and his friends saw a group of men drop a woman on a sidewalk outside a bar. They intervened, and a fight broke out. Another brawl started after the men followed the 22-year-old to the Pizza House.

"They were arguing over something," Pizza House manager Ed Atkins said yesterday by phone. "We told them to take it out to the street and they did."

Two years ago, the NFL established disciplinary measures against players convicted of violent crimes. The league can suspend and/or fine players involved in such incidents.

Foote could not be reached for comment and his agent, Fletcher Smith, did not return a phone message.

Ed Bouchette can be reached at ebouchette@post-gazette.com or 412-263-3878.

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