Cincinnati Bengals fullback Orson Charles, a former star at Tampa’s Plant High School, was arrested late Monday south of Lexington, Ky., on a charge of wanton endangerment.
Charles, 23, was accused of brandishing a firearm at another driver several times during a “road-rage incident” on Interstate 75, according to police in Berea, Ky.
The other driver called authorities and gave a description of the gun and vehicle, police said.
“The complainant said a handgun had been pointed at him,” Berea police Sgt. Jake Reed told the Richmond Register in Kentucky.
Police stopped Charles on Interstate 75, and he consented to a search of his 2004 Nissan Murano, police said. Officers found a Smith & Wesson semiautomatic handgun inside that matched the caller’s description, police said. Charles was booked at the Madison County (Ky.) Jail and released at 12:55 a.m. Tuesday on $5,000 bail.
Charles is a third-year pro from University of Georgia, where he played tight end. He converted to fullback and has appeared in 29 games with the Bengals, mostly on special teams.
“It’s not appropriate for us to comment on legal matters that are not resolved,” Bengals spokesman Jack Brennan said.
Charles was a top tight end prospect out of Plant, where he helped the Panthers win the Class 4A state championship as a senior in 2008. At Georgia, he was first-team All-SEC tight end in 2011, averaging 14.6 yards per catch before electing to go pro after his junior year.
However, he was arrested on a drunken driving charge in Athens, Ga., in March 2012 with a blood-alcohol level of 0.095, above the state’s legal limit of 0.08, officials said. Projected by many NFL draft experts to be a second-round pick, he slid to the Bengals in the fourth round, 116th overall.
In Kentucky, first-degree wanton endangerment is defined as wantonly engaging in conduct that creates a substantial danger of death or serious physical injury to another. The conduct must also take place under circumstances that display extreme indifference to the value of human life. It is a felony.
Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.