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Darron Lee, former Ohio State LB and NFL first-round pick, arrested

Darron Lee, a former Ohio State University football player and NFL first-round draft pick, was arrested Monday night by Dublin (Ohio) police and charged with domestic violence related to two separate incidents, according to Franklin County Municipal Court records.

Lee, 28, is facing two counts each of misdemeanor domestic violence and misdemeanor assault. One set of charges is related to an incident that allegedly occurred on Oct. 17 and one that occurred on Monday. Both incidents happened at a home on Kendall Ridge Loop.

Lee is currently being held in the Franklin County jail and had a court appearance in both cases on Tuesday morning. Court records list Lee’s current address as being in Fort Lauderdale. His bond was set at $20,000 in each case, and he was ordered to stay away from the two alleged victims if he posts that bond amount.

According to court records, Dublin police were called to the Kendall Ridge Loop home on Monday by a female relative.

Court records said officers were called after Lee reportedly punched the woman multiple times in the head during an argument. Both the female relative and the mother of Darron Lee’s child called police to report the incident.

According to a signed affidavit by Columbus police, the female relative told officers that Lee’s girlfriend had expressed concerns to her on Monday about not feeling safe around Lee. The relative had gone to speak with him in an upstairs bedroom of the home and tell him that he needed to leave the home.

Lee initially told police that the relative hit him first, but later recanted and said that discoloration on his cheek was a skin condition, according to court records.

The relative told officers that Lee became upset when she told him to leave and began yelling at her before grabbing her shirt and shoving her into a wall multiple times.

‘(The relative) was then thrown to the ground while Mr. Lee kept screaming at her. Mr. Lee then began to strike her head with his fists making contact with her face and back of her head,’ court records said. ‘(The relative) stated that he struck her approximately 8-9 times in the head area with a closed fist.’

Officers said the female relative was taken to an area hospital for treatment of her injuries, which included obvious swelling to her left cheek and complaints that her head hurt.

‘(The relative) also had a cell phone recording of the initial assault that was given to police for evidence,’ court records said.

During the investigation into Monday’s incident, police learned of an alleged incident on Oct. 17, 2022, involving Lee and the mother of his child. That woman told police that Lee believed the woman had cheated on her, leading to an argument that began in an upstairs bedroom.

‘(The woman) was laying on the bed and Darron got on top of her, with his knees making contact with her knees, and his left hand on her neck where it remained for approximately 60 seconds,’ court records said. ‘During this time, (the woman) advised that Darron told her that he would kill her and their child.’

The woman also told police that Lee had punched the pillow beside her head multiple times and squeezed her throat, threw her phone and struck her in the side of the head.

The argument then continued into the downstairs area of the home. The woman told police that Lee ‘grabbed (her) by the neck and lifted her up.’

‘He then swung (her) around and dropped her onto the ground,’ court records said.

Lee then went back upstairs, at which point the woman was able to get their child and leave the home safely.

Lee reportedly told police that the woman had struck him in the face during the argument and again while they were going downstairs and denied ever putting his hands on the woman’s neck. Police reportedly viewed photographs of injuries the woman had taken that night by a relative, photos of a hole in the wall and a broken phone, as well as a journal entry the woman made related to the incident.

Lee was a star linebacker on Ohio State’s 2014 national championship team. The New Albany, Ohio, native was a late addition to the Buckeyes’ 2013 recruiting class. Lee played quarterback in high school and did not have an obvious college position. 

Defensive coordinator Luke Fickell, now the head coach at the University of Wisconsin, believed Lee had potential as a linebacker and lobbied then-coach Urban Meyer to offer a scholarship. 

He emerged as a playmaker in the spring of 2014 and became integral in Ohio State’s run to the championship. He was named the defensive Most Valuable Player in Ohio State’s 42-35 victory over Alabama in the College Football Playoff semifinal. 

Lee declared for the 2016 NFL draft and was taken 20th overall by the New York Jets. He was the last of five Ohio State first-round draft picks that year.

His NFL career was a disappointment. He struggled in pass coverage as a rookie and was fined several times by the Jets and the NFL in his second season. Late in his third season, the NFL suspended Lee for four games for a performance enhancement drug violation. 

The Jets traded Lee to the Kansas City Chiefs in 2019. The Chiefs won the Super Bowl that season, but Lee was on the inactive list for that game. 

The NFL again suspended Lee for four games in 2020. He then had brief stays with the Buffalo Bills and Las Vegas Raiders. 

This post appeared first on USA TODAY

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