Titans' Lewan to go to trial in fan-punching case

AP Sports WriterJuly 17, 2014 

— Tennessee Titans rookie Taylor Lewan will go to trial in October on charges he punched an Ohio State fan.

The former Michigan offensive tackle is accused of hitting the fan after the Buckeyes beat the Wolverines last season. He is charged with one count of aggravated assault and two counts of assault and battery.

He was told during a pretrial hearing Thursday to return to Ann Arbor District Court on Oct. 27 for jury selection. The trial could begin the next morning.

The Titans will not be preparing that week for a game, minimizing the possible impact of Lewan being back near his college campus. Lewan, drafted No. 11 overall, is one of three players drafted this year without a contract.

Lewan and the Titans declined to comment after the pretrial hearing. When asked about the possibility of a plea bargain, Lewan's attorney, John Shea, said: "Who knows what the future holds?" He is "assuming" the case will be decided by jurors.

Shea asked for an expanded pool of jurors because of the publicity the case is getting and the request was granted, increasing the pool from 30 to 45.

A conference is scheduled for Oct. 23, with Lewan able to participate by phone. Both sides will share lists of expected witnesses and exhibits.

"It's not just housekeeping but ... making sure that things are going to go smoothly," Shea said.

According to an Ann Arbor police report obtained by The Associated Press, Lewan told police he only was separating people, but later acknowledged he "could have pushed someone." James Hughes of Denver said Lewan hit him in the face. Alexandra Dileo, whose brother was a college teammate of Lewan's, said "Taylor is lying" about his actions on Dec. 1.

"He knocked the guy to the ground and he punched him," she told police in a telephone interview Jan. 29, according to the report. She recalled hearing Lewan tell his mother "I knocked a guy out" the next morning while they were having breakfast.

Lewan, Hughes, Dileo and others interviewed by police acknowledged they had been drinking on the night in question. Lewan's motives were "related" to the Michigan-Ohio State rivalry and to "levels of intoxication," the report said.

Dileo expressed concerns to police that people would feel she was lying because she and Lewan had broken up, according to the report. But she said she "knows what happened and Taylor is lying."

Lewan gave his side of the story before the NFL draft to many teams, including the Titans.

"I'm happy that they believed in my character, the kind of person I am," Lewan said during a conference call the night he was drafted. "My job is to not do reckless things off the field. My job is to make sure my quarterback is safe and my running backs are in good positions to gain yards."

Lewan is expected to back up both new right tackle Michael Oher and veteran left tackle Michael Roos, but coach Ken Whisenhunt has said Lewan can earn a starting spot.

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Online:

AP NFL website: www.pro32.ap.org and www.twitter.com/AP-NFL

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Connect with Larry Lage at www.Twitter.com/larrylage

AP Sports Writer Teresa M. Walker in Nashville, Tennessee, contributed to this report.

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