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NFL investigating Steelers assistant for assaulting Patriots fan

James Daniel allegedly kicked and yelled at a Patriots fan on his way to the locker room before halftime on Thursday, but the Steelers claim the assistant coach was not involved.

Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

The NFL is investigating Pittsburgh Steelers tight ends coach James Daniel for allegedly assaulting a New England Patriots fan on the way to the locker room before halftime on Thursday, according to ESPN's Adam Schefter.

Steelers president Art Rooney II released a statement Sunday in support of Daniel after the team conducted its own "internal inquiry" into the matter, via Schefter:

"After interviews with Coach Daniel as well as other personnel who witnessed the alleged encounter, we find no corroboration that Coach Daniel was involved in any physical altercation with a fan," the statement read. "We have a high level of confidence in his character and are confident that any further investigation of this incident will reveal he was not part of any assault or misconduct involving a Patriots fan."

Daniel, 62, has been an NFL coach for more than two decades and began his time with the Steelers as tight ends coach in 2004. He previously served as a tight ends and offensive line coach for the Atlanta Falcons and a tight ends coach for the New York Giants.

According to Schefter, Daniel is accused of "kicking a Patriots fan in the back of his leg and yelling at the fan in front of witnesses." When he arrived back at the coaching booth after halftime, police were waiting for Daniel who, according to witnesses, then began shouting at an officer.

NFL security reportedly interviewed Daniel about the incident and have launched an investigation. The Steelers were informed about the incident by NFL security and followed through with their own investigation.