Steelers' Townsend faces assault charge

Cornerback denies he punched anyone in Station Square incident

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Steelers cornerback Deshea Townsend was charged with simple assault yesterday after a weekend incident in which police said he punched another man in the face.

According to the criminal complaint, the victim, Chris Graham, came into the Zone 3 police station on the South Side Friday to complain that the 31-year-old Townsend and another man punched him in the face at a bar and left him with a cut underneath his left eye and a swollen, bloody lip.

Graham told police he was at Margarita Mamas at Station Square when he was approached by two individuals he recognized as Steelers.

One was Townsend, Graham told police. He said the other man was Raymond Burgess and that he was under the impression that Burgess also was a Steeler. Steelers' spokesman Dave Lockett said however that Burgess is not affiliated with the Steelers in any way.

Graham said he got into a heated argument with Burgess and that Burgess punched him in the face. Graham also said Townsend jumped in and punched him in the face.

Police said the two men repeatedly punched Graham, then left him on the ground until a witness picked him up and took him to the police station.

Graham said he called 911, but the police never came.

Lockett said the team is aware of the incident and had no comment.

Townsend referred questions to his lawyer, Bobby Del Greco.

"It's extremely unfortunate he was implicated in this charge," Del Greco said of Townsend. "What I can tell from a very preliminary and superficial investigation is that he was not involved in the altercation any way whatsoever, except afterward to try to separate people. He never punched anyone.

"Apparently, there were witnesses -- including police officers -- who witnessed that.

"He categorically denies he punched anyone. He says he was in the vicinity and observed it, and the separation wasn't involving the reputed victim, but other people. He wasn't involved in the fight. He said he knows better. Circumstantially, he was in the vicinity, and he's a bit incensed that he's being implicated in it."

Del Greco also said Townsend reportedly is getting a summons through the mail.


Moustafa Ayad can be reached at mayad@post-gazette.com or 412-263-1731. Ed Bouchette contributed to this report.


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