Goon to Carolina

Jon Beason takes it outside. Plus, an ex-NFL lineman doubles down and gets busted.
By MATT TAIBBI  |  December 9, 2009

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A few years ago, there was a lot of sentiment in Patriots country for drafting a University of Miami linebacker named Jon Beason — an undersize, flow-to-the-ball type of interior defender who many thought would help New England overcome the growing speed gap caused by having senior citizens Junior Seau and Tedy Bruschi on the field at the same time.

The Pats passed and ended up taking Beason's college teammate, safety Brandon Meriweather (Beason went one pick later to Carolina.) For the first two seasons, the Pats were pilloried a bit, mainly because Meriweather was slow in developing, while Beason went on to become a pseudo-star with the Panthers.

Well, things look better for the Pats now. Meriweather is playing at a Pro Bowl level, while Beason is in deep shit, arrested for assault and also under suit for punching a man in the face.

It seems that, earlier this summer, Beason attended a "Lake Bash" at North Carolina's Lake Norman, where he was allegedly spotted, by a man named Greg Frye, "doing coke with some girl."

Fast forward to last month, when — at a Charlotte strip club called the Uptown Cabaret — Frye shared what he saw at the lake with one of Beason's teammates, tight end Dante Rosario. Rosario allegedly relayed the information to Beason, which enraged the linebacker. (Beason's bodyguard/driver told Frye that "Whatever you said about Beason, he's really pissed. You need to talk to him.")

The two eventually connected and, in the manner of drunken angry men throughout history, suggested talking it over outside. As they exited the club, Frye turned around to see if Beason was following him, and was allegedly met by a "crushing blow" to the nose and eye area. According to the lawsuit, when the blow landed, Frye "saw a streak of light, his legs buckled, and he fell to the floor."

Frye allegedly got up and was clocked again by Beason. The lawsuit claims that Beason, when asked if he had hit Frye, said "something along the lines of, 'Yeah, I hit him. It might cost me a hundred grand, but you don't go around telling people I'm doing coke . . .' "

Ironically, it just might cost him all of that, depending on how the suit shakes out. Meanwhile, Panthers coach John Fox is going with the "We're going to let this take its course" strategy. The criminal charge, meanwhile, is a relatively minor "assault inflicting serious injury" beef — a misdemeanor.

Frye sounds like a bit of a douche, having domestic-violence assaults in his past (he's also already making the media rounds), so this one is going to depend a lot on further testimony. Let's give Jon-Jon 35 points for now, and stay tuned.

Antoine redux
Yet another pro athlete has gone down the gambling tubes. Just a few months after Antoine Walker got arrested for skipping out on his own casino markers, the far beefier Ross Verba — a former journeyman offensive lineman who played for the Packers and Browns — was picked up for failing to pay off $26,000 to the Palms in Las Vegas.

This is the second time that Verba has been in trouble for this sort of thing. He got busted in 2007 for failing to pay off a $50,000 IOU to Wynn Las Vegas.

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