PATERSON, N.J. -- A former Hackensack High School football standout said he hoped to return to professional football after jurors in Paterson on Friday found him not guilty of beating a man outside a Passaic nightclub, leaving him in critical condition, in 2013, a published report says.
Ausar Walcott of Maywood, who was signed as a free agent by the Cleveland Browns afer not being drafted, was hugged by some jurors outside the courtroom after the verdict was delivered following less than an hour of deliberations, NorthJersey.com reported .
According to prosecutors, Walcott punched a New York City man in the head outside the Palace Gentlemen’s Club around 3 in the morning on June 23, 2013, sending the 24-year-old victim to the hospital with a broken jaw and bleeding on the brain, among other injuries.
Initially reported in critical condition, the victim was discharged a few weeks later.
Walcott contended that he threw a punch in self-defense after more than two dozen men surrounded him and a friend and assaulted them.
Walcott faced similar circumstances with the University of Virginia in early 2011, when he and two teammates got into an argument with a group of people outside an off-campus party near James Madison University around 1:30 in the morning. Bottles, cups and epithets were reportedly thrown at the Cavaliers trio, who responded by crashing the party and igniting a brawl.
Two people ended up requiring hospitalization. Walcott quickly turned himself in – the same as he did three years ago in Passaic.
He and his teammates were suspended indefinitely from the team, which over the years produced NFL brothers Tiki and Ronde Barber, defensive end turned radio personality Chris Canty and NBA giant Ralph Sampson, among other professionals. The trio couldn’t work out or participate in spring practice sessions.
Four months after the incident, the charges were dropped and Walcott was reinstated. However, he was moved from his starting weakside linebacker position to defensive end – at the bottom of the depth chart.
Walcott worked his way back, finding a new home at strongside linebacker, thanks to the heft and muscle he added in order to play on the defensive line.
It made the 6-foot-2, 230-pound prospect attractive to the Browns, who signed him -- then cut him following the Paterson arrest.
Had he been convicted of the second-degree aggravated assault charge brought by prosecutors, Walcot could have faced up to 10 years in state prison, according to NorthJersey.com.
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