MINNEAPOLIS (AP) – Randy Moss walked out of jail whistling, charged with two misdemeanors instead of a possible felony for allegedly pushing a traffic officer a half-block with his car, and the Minnesota Vikings announced their star receiver would start Sunday against Seattle.
Moss was released yesterday from the Hennepin County jail after spending the night. He was charged with careless driving and failure to obey a traffic officer.
Police said they found a small quantity of marijuana in Moss’ car, an amount that would qualify as a petty misdemeanor, but no charge was immediately filed.
Moss, who has a history of trouble on and off the field, had been arrested on suspicion of assault with a dangerous weapon, a felony.
He whistled as he left jail and walked through a pack of reporters.
“You’ll hear my side later,” Moss said. “I was treated bad.”
Head coach Mike Tice said Moss would be disciplined for missing part of Wednesday’s practice, but he did not reveal the discipline. Allowing Moss to start on Sunday is “an appropriate course of action” based on the lesser charges.
“I’m still disappointed,” Tice said. “This doesn’t change the fact that we’ve been dealing with this for the last 24 hours, that I slept very little last night and I ate a half a jar of Maalox.”
Moss wasn’t available to media at the team’s practice facility. Tice said Moss apologized to his teammates and coaches after practice, and would make a statement today.
Though his arrest was yet another distraction for a team that’s had its share of them over the past year, Moss’s teammates offered nothing but support yesterday.
“You hate to see this stuff happen to him because he’s a good guy,” said defensive tackle Chris Hovan. “He’s respected in this locker room.”
Moss wound up in jail after an altercation that began during evening rush hour on a downtown Minneapolis street.
The traffic agent stepped in front of Moss’ car to stop him from making an illegal turn. Moss used his car to slowly push the officer along the street, stopping when she fell to the ground, police spokeswoman Cyndi Barrington said.
Barrington said 27-year-old Amy Zaccardi – a city employee but not a police officer – was not seriously hurt. One witness called the situation “surreal.” Another said he didn’t believe Moss intended to hurt Zaccardi.
County prosecutor Amy Klobuchar said the case was turned over to the city for lesser charges because there wasn’t enough evidence to prove Moss intended bodily harm, a requirement for a felony assault.
Moss could be sentenced to up to 90 days in jail and a $1,000 fine on each of the misdemeanors if convicted. A felony assault conviction might have meant 21 months in prison.
Under NFL rules, Moss will undergo mandatory “evaluation” because he was charged with a crime.
Moss caught just four passes in Minnesota’s loss to Carolina on Sunday.