TCU coach Gary Patterson said he is going to let “justice do its course” before he decides anything about defensive end Devonte Fields, a potential high NFL draft pick who is accused of assaulting and threatening his former girlfriend in the overnight hours Sunday morning.
The university “separated” Fields on Monday, Patterson said, meaning the player cannot be on campus. His status will remain unchanged until the university completes an investigation.
A Fort Worth police report said the ex-girlfriend believed Fields had a gun when he told her, “I should blast you!” during a domestic disturbance about 3:30 a.m. Sunday at a friend’s home. Fields left before police arrived. He was not arrested.
“Obviously, it’s disappointing to me that we’d be in that situation,” Patterson said after speaking to a Chamber of Commerce audience Tuesday at the football stadium. “Nothing I can do, just make sure that I let justice do its course.”
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Fields led TCU in sacks two years ago, and the draft potential is high for the sophomore despite his missing most of last season because of injury and a two-game suspension for breaking team rules. He was on school probation this year, Patterson said, but was expected to be available for the season. The media that covers the conference voted him the preseason defensive MVP.
“We were the No. 2 defense in the league without him a year ago,” Patterson said. “So we’ll go play and do what we need to do. That’s what my job is, to go win ballgames.”
Patterson said he can do no more in regard to Fields’ situation until something changes.
“Really, it’s in the Fort Worth police department’s hands,” he said.
Fields is the second negative development for Patterson’s roster this spring.
Monday, Patterson said receiver Brandon Carter will likely not play this year because of academic problems. Carter was arrested on suspicion of marijuana possession in April, but the charge was dropped because of a lack of evidence.
Patterson did not address either player’s situation in his remarks to the luncheon, but he said he has gone back to recruiting fewer “high-maintenance” players.
Asked by reporters after the lunch if he said that in the context of Fields, Patterson said: “Well, I don’t think that’s fair to him. But obviously, you go through 17 years, you go through stages — you know, at one point in time, we were the only team in college football where there wasn’t one guy on the team that had a rap sheet, when you did a background check. So you know, you go through cycles. Obviously, we want to recruit great kids and great players. That’s what our job is.”
TCU begins practices Aug. 4.