One of the more athletic and promising tight ends of the 2016 NFL Draft, Western Kentucky's Tyler Higbee, was arrested early Sunday morning for second-degree assault, public intoxication and evading police, according to Warren County Regional Jail records.
According to a police report obtained by Zach Greenwell of the Bowling Green Daily News, Higbee punched a man outside a Kentucky bar and left the victim with a brain hemorrhage. As of Monday morning, the victim is in stable condition, but still unresponsive.
The victim, Nawaf Alsaleh, was found by police lying unconscious in a bar parking lot "with blood running from his mouth." Via Greenwell:
Higbee stated that Alsaleh got in the "personal space" of him and his girlfriend "and was calling his friends telling them to come to their location to fight Higbee."
"I asked Higbee how he knew that because Higbee said Alsaleh was speaking in a language he did not understand," the officer wrote in the report. "Higbee said that he 'just knew.' "
Once at the jail, Higbee told the officer "that Alsaleh never tried to fight him or come after him as if he was going to harm him. Higbee just said that Alsaleh got into his and (his girlfriend's) personal space so he hit Alsaleh," according to the report.
Higbee maintains it was self-defense and intends to plead not guilty, his attorney told NFL Media.
Higbee was one of only two Western Kentucky players invited to the NFL Combine in February, but didn't participate in drills due to a knee injury suffered late in the 2015 season. However, he impressed at his pro day despite still not being healthy enough to participate fully.
Before the arrest, one NFL tight ends coach told Jody Demling of Scout.com that it would be a surprise if Higbee didn't get picked before the fourth round. He was drawing plenty of recent interest from teams, too, including a visit with the Denver Broncos and a workout with the New Orleans Saints. He was reportedly drawing attention from coaches of the Cincinnati Bengals and Los Angeles Rams general manager Les Snead.
Higbee caught 38 passes for 563 yards and eight touchdowns as a senior, but missed five games due to injury.