CINCINNATI – The Cincinnati Bengals decided Thursday they’ve had enough of Chris Henry’s legal problems, cutting the wide receiver after his fifth arrest since 2005.
A lawyer for Henry, 24, entered not guilty pleas for him after Henry was accused of punching an 18-year-old man in the face and breaking his car window with a beer bottle.
Municipal Court Judge Bernie Bouchard set bond at US$51,000 on charges of misdemeanour assault and criminal damaging. Noting Henry’s previous arrests involving drugs, guns and alcohol, the judge called Henry “a one-man crime wave.” He ordered electronic monitoring if Henry makes bail.
NFL spokesman Greg Aiello said it was premature to speculate on Henry’s future in the league.
“It will be reviewed under the standard conduct policy,” Aiello said.
Henry did not speak at the hearing. His lawyer, Perry Ancona, disputed the allegations in the complaint sworn by Gregory Meyer.
“We have a different set of facts we ask the court to consider,” Ancona said.
Minutes before the arraignment, Ancona broke the news to Henry that he had been released.
Bengals president Mike Brown said in a statement Thursday that Henry had forfeited his career with the club.
“His conduct can no longer be tolerated,” Brown said.
Henry was suspended by NFL commissioner Roger Goodell for the first half of last season for repeatedly violating the league’s conduct policy. He was also suspended for two games in 2006.
“The Bengals tried for an extended period of time to support Chris and his potentially bright career,” Brown said. “We had hoped to guide him toward an appropriate standard of personal responsibility that this community would support and that would allow him to play in the NFL. … But those efforts end today, as we move on with what is best for our team.”
The player’s agent, Marvin Frazier, said Thursday he did not know enough about the charges to comment.
“I just want to say that we’re sorry this all happened, and we will continue to try to work to help Chris,” Frazier said. “I do want to thank the Cincinnati Bengals – Mike Brown, (coach) Marvin Lewis and everyone – for all they have done to try to help this young man. Many of them have gone beyond the call of duty.”
According to a statement filed with Hamilton County authorities, Henry was identified by Gregory Meyer, whose hometown was not listed, and an eyewitness. They claimed Henry punched Meyer on Monday, causing “visible injury.” Henry then threw a beer bottle at Meyer’s car, breaking the rear passenger window, according to the affidavit.
Henry has had a string of problems with police. He was in court last week after being ticketed for driving with expired Kentucky license plates. He paid $149 in fines and court costs, according to the Hamilton County Municipal Court records.
Henry was arrested four times between December 2005 and June 2006. He was accused of possession of marijuana in northern Kentucky, carrying a concealed weapon in Florida, drunken driving in Ohio and providing alcohol to minors in northern Kentucky. In that case, he served two days in jail in 2006 after pleading guilty to a charge of letting minors drink alcohol in a hotel room he had rented.
Following his NFL suspension, Henry caught 21 passes for 343 yards and two touchdowns last season.
Henry had nine touchdown catches in 13 games in 2006, when he was suspended by the league for two games and benched for another by Lewis because of misconduct.
The six-foot-four, 200-pound receiver was a third-round draft pick from West Virginia in 2005.