PITTSBURGH – A Pitt defensive back who was kicked off the team hours before the Panthers' 31-3 loss to Miami had been arrested the night before for allegedly assaulting his girlfriend after she told him she was pregnant.
Jeffrey Knox Jr., 18, cursed at the woman, slapped her and choked her Wednesday night in front of a dormitory at Chatham University, a smaller private school not far from the Pitt campus, according to a criminal complaint filed by Chatham campus police.
Online court records do not list an attorney for Knox, who played his first two seasons of high school football at Pittsburgh Central Catholic before finishing up at DeMatha Catholic in Maryland.
After Thursday's night's game, coach Dave Wannstedt called Knox's actions, "Very disappointing. Some things we won't tolerate. That's one of them."
Knox, a freshman, didn't play in the first two games for the 1-2 Panthers, who are losing players to suspension faster than they are losing games.
Offensive lineman Keith Coleman and running back Jason Douglas were also arrested this month and are suspended from the team. Defensive end Jabaal Sheard did not miss any games after pleading guilty to disorderly conduct following a July fight in Pittsburgh.
In Knox's case, Chatham police responded to a 911 call of a man choking a woman. The victim, a Chatham student, told police that Knox assaulted her after she found out she was pregnant and called to tell him, according to a criminal affidavit.
The woman acknowledged trying to hit Knox before he slapped her in the head and knocked her to the ground, the affidavit said. Knox then picked up the woman and was choking her against a wall, the victim told police. He also knocked down two female friends who tried to stop him, according to the affidavit.
Knox is charged with simple assault, reckless endangerment and disorderly conduct.
Among the other players with legal difficulties, Douglas faces perhaps the most serious charges. The backup tailback was arrested after witnesses told police a motorist hit a pedestrian on the city's bar-filled South Side about 1:40 a.m. on Sept. 12. The pedestrian was hospitalized with head and neck injuries.
"Hey, I play for Pitt football," Douglas told officers, according to a police complaint and affidavit. "Please don't arrest me."
He faces a preliminary hearing in Pittsburgh City Court Oct. 28 on charges including vehicular aggravated assault and drunken driving.
Coleman, 20, also has an Oct. 28 court date to face charges including aggravated assault and disorderly conduct. Pittsburgh police said Coleman fought with a man after he spoke with two women, angering their male companions.
In August, Wannstedt decided not to suspend Sheard after he apologized and pleaded guilty to disorderly conduct for throwing a man through an art gallery's glass door during a July 18 fight. Sheard was fined $300 and otherwise disciplined by the team, although Wannstedt didn't disclose how.