Former Michigan football player and Pittsburgh Steelers linebacker Larry Foote and three current Michigan football players were involved in an altercation that began at around 2:30 a.m. yesterday inside Pizza House on Church Street.

The fight began when Foote, senior offensive lineman Courtney Morgan, junior running back Chris Perry, an unidentified male and two females were joined at the restaurant by a second group of five to six males. A few minutes after the second group arrived at the restaurant, the two groups began to push and shove each other inside near the bar area, knocking over and dislodging a hostess stand in the process.

A Pizza House employee who wished to remain anonymous said she began to worry “when some of the guys started getting confrontational and posturing in that macho-guy kind of way.” Employees called the police from the back of the restaurant.

“I was standing there numb,” the employee said.

After knocking over the stand, the brawl escalated outside on Church Street near Backroom Pizzeria. Ann Arbor police arrived on the scene soon thereafter, using pepper spray to stop the conflict and separate the two groups.

Foote, who just finished his rookie season for the Steelers, was escorted away in an ambulance with an injured thumb. He was released from the University Hospital emergency room late yesterday morning, a hospital employee said.

Lt. Greg O’Dell of the Ann Arbor Police Department said that it would be up to the city attorney’s office to issue warrants for the players’ arrests. One of the men who was not associated with either football team was arrested and released soon after. O’Dell could not release any information about him.

Both Perry and Morgan returned to Pizza House after the brawl, asking for a glass of milk to ease the pain that the pepper spray caused to their eyes. The police allowed Perry, Morgan and sophomore cornerback Markus Curry, who was also at the scene of the incident, to drive away.

The Pizza House employee said the hostess stand was repaired and that nothing else was harmed by the incident.

“The only casualty was this little basket that we kept crayons in,” the employee said. “There were crayons all over the place.”

Foote, a fourth-round selection in the 2002 NFL Draft, was named Big Ten Defensive Player of the Year for 2001. The Detroit native tallied 26 tackles for a loss his senior season and was named to the Football News All-America team.

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