Jaguars' Dante Fowler Jr. arrested on misdemeanor battery charges

The NFL career of Jacksonville Jaguars defensive end Dante Fowler Jr., the No. 3 pick in 2015, has started with much more of a whimper than a bang.

And he just made things worse for himself.

Via Greg Auman of the Tampa Bay Times, Fowler was arrested on Tuesday night in his hometown of St. Petersburg, Florida, and charged with misdemeanor simple battery and mischief.

Not smiling now: Jacksonville DE Dante Fowler Jr. was arrested Tuesday night. (AP)

According to the arrest report, Fowler was driving in an apartment complex when a man walking in the complex made a comment about Fowler’s driving. Fowler stopped, got out of his car and after exchanging some words, “hit the man, knocked his glasses off and stepped on them.”

Then, for good measure, Fowler grabbed the grocery bag the man was carrying and threw it in the nearby lake. The bag had “recently purchased liquor” in it.

The victim was not injured in the altercation.

Fowler was arrested and released early Wednesday morning on $650 bond.

The Jaguars posted a brief statement on Twitter: “The Jaguars are aware of the situation involving defensive end Dante Fowler Jr. and are currently gathering more information. The team has been in communication with Dante. No further comment will be made at this time.”

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It already appeared Fowler was facing an uphill climb, at least in the eyes of new Jaguars’ head coach Doug Marrone. Earlier this year, Marrone said of Fowler, “You saw flashes [last year] and we saw the athletic ability and, at times, the competitiveness from Dante. But we’re looking for players that are consistent with their production.”

Fowler missed his entire rookie season due to a torn ACL suffered in the first session of his rookie minicamp. Last year, the defensive end played just under half of the Jaguars’ defensive snaps, playing in all 16 games but only making one start. He was credited with four sacks and 32 total tackles.

UPDATE: Apparently Fowler is quite familiar to law enforcement agencies around Florida; Auman has since reported that Fowler was arrested in March 2016 in Miami Beach and charged with misdemeanor assault against a police officer/EMT and resisting arrest without violence, also a misdemeanor. Those charges were dropped several months later, which Auman wrote is par for the course for those who have completed a pre-trial intervention program.

However, Fowler’s involvement in that program, designed for first-time offenders, could impact how his arrest on Tuesday is handled, Auman wrote.

And his incident on Tuesday night came four days after another court case involving Fowler. Last Friday, an agreement was reached to withhold adjudication against the player on a citation of reckless driving from an accident last month that caused $1500 in property damage; Fowler allegedly backed into a parked vehicle. He also received a citation for operating a vehicle without insurance.

Fowler has received four speeding tickets in Jacksonville, including one just over a year ago in which he was cited for driving 98 MPH in a 55-MPH zone at 1 a.m. Fowler received a $450 ticket and pleaded no contest to the charge.