|Tuesday, September 24
Updated: September 25, 12:43 PM ET
Moss arrested after alleged run-in with traffic agent
ESPN.com news services
MINNEAPOLIS -- Randy Moss spent the night in jail facing a possible felony charge after being arrested for allegedly pushing a traffic agent a half-block with his car.
The arrest could keep the Minnesota Vikings' star receiver out of Sunday's game against the Seattle Seahawks.
The 27-year-old agent stepped in front of Moss to stop him from making an illegal turn in downtown Minneapolis, and Moss used his 2002 Lexus to slowly push the officer a half-block along the street, stopping when she fell to the ground, police spokeswoman Cyndi Barrington said.
Barrington said Amy Zaccardi is a city employee but not a police officer and was not seriously hurt. Witnesses called the situation "surreal'' but said it was clear Moss did not intend to hurt Zaccardi.
Police arrested Moss on suspicion of assault with a dangerous weapon, a felony. He was being held in Hennepin County Jail early Wednesday. Barrington said the county attorney would consider charges.
However, ESPN has learned that police intend to charge Moss with second-degree assault, a felony.
"He's going to be treated like anybody else,'' Barrington said.
In an interview on ESPN Radio on Tuesday night, Barrington said the typical holding time of a person arrested on a similar charge is 36 hours, but that a hearing could occur as early as Wednesday.
"Obviously the media will make this a high-profile case, but we will handle this as we would any civilian who was arrested on an assault case," she said.
Late Tuesday night, a Vikings' team source told ESPN that Moss flatly "denied doing what the police said that he did."
Meanwhile, the Vikings issued a statement that said the team wouldn't comment about the incident until it had gathered more information.
Vikings coach Mike Tice declined comment Tuesday, but the Minneapolis Star Tribune reported Wednesday that a person with knowledge of the situation told the newspaper that it is highly unlikely Moss will play Sunday.
Moss' agent, Dante DiTrapano, had been in contact with the player Tuesday but declined comment.
Jerry Hullerman, 46, said he saw the incident while parked near the intersection.
"I saw a really decked-out Lexus pushing the traffic person along," said Hullerman, who was also interviewed by police. "It was really surreal."
He said the agent was facing forward while sitting on the front of the car with one hand on the hood and the other hand on her radio as the car pushed her along.
After a few seconds, Hullerman said, the man in the car tapped the accelerator and knocked her down. "She fell flat on her face," Hullerman said, adding that the driver didn't get out of his car.
Hullerman said squad cars arrived seconds later and officers took Moss into custody.
Robert and Delaina Nelson of Robbinsdale, Minn., saw much of the incident and called it one of the most ridiculous episodes they've ever seen. They also said they had no doubt that the driver -- whom they later learned was Moss -- did not intend to hurt the traffic agent.
Rather, Delaina Nelson said, it seemed to be a "cat-and-mouse game" in which he wanted her to get out of his way.
"He was in the wrong, and she put herself in a dangerous position," Robert Nelson told the Star Tribune. "I think if he had been a madman, he would have just run over her and kept going."
Moss, 25, is in his fifth year with the Vikings and is the team's highest-paid player. He signed an eight-year, $75 million contract last year.
He set an NFL record with 5,396 yards receiving in his first four seasons as a pro and is the only wide receiver with more than 1,000 yards receiving in each of his first four seasons. Moss has scored more touchdowns since his 1998 debut than anyone except St. Louis running back Marshall Faulk.
The Vikings are off to an 0-3 start, their worst since 1967, and Moss caught just four passes for 16 yards in Sunday's loss to Carolina.
Moss has been in trouble before on and off the field throughout his career. He squirted a referee with a water bottle in 1999 -- which resulted in a $25,000 fine from the NFL -- and verbally abused corporate sponsors on the team bus in 2001. The last infraction resulted in the team fining him $15,000 and forcing him to attend anger management classes.
He had a scholarship revoked by Notre Dame in 1995 after being charged with beating up a high school classmate in Rand, W.Va. Moss pleaded guilty to battery and was sentenced to 30 days in jail. He was allowed to defer most of the sentence until after his freshman year in college.
He went to Florida State, where he redshirted his freshman season but was kicked off the team for violating probation by smoking marijuana. That got him a one-year jail sentence, which was reduced to about one month of time served.
Virtually out of chances, Moss walked on at Marshall and quickly became a star.
Last year, Moss drew criticism after telling reporters that he plays when he wants to play. "There's nobody here on the face of the earth that can make me go out here and play football,'' he said. "I can go out here on the field and suit up and stand on the sideline and play. At my highest level? I don't know. If I want to go out here and play at my highest level, I'll do that."
He also has taunted opposing players and bickered with teammates. But after Tice was appointed head coach in January, Moss stayed in Minnesota during the offseason and worked out most days at the team's headquarters.
"By me coming here and working out with most of the young guys, I guess that's just showing them a little leadership and how bad I want to win a Super Bowl,'' Moss said in June.
Information from the Associated Press was used in this report.