NFL Coach on Leave for Domestic Battery Charges

An NFL assistant coach has been placed on paid administrative leave as he awaits a court date on domestic battery charges, according to ESPN. James Saxon of the Arizona Cardinals was charged in May on two counts of domestic battery, including a Level 6 felony for allegedly assaulting a woman in front of a child younger than 16 years old. 

Cardinals head coach Kliff Kingsbury said on Friday the team was marked aware of the situation when it happened. "We are aware of the incident and notified the NFL as required," the Cardinals said in a statement. "The matter is currently under review pursuant to league policies. After consultation with the league office, James has been placed on paid administrative leave. We will have no further comment pending additional proceedings."

On May 7, Saxon allegedly got into an argument at a Costco in Indianapolis, and it continued at the home of the woman. Saxon could serve up to nearly three years in prison and be fined $10,000 for his felony charge. Saxon's second change is a Class A misdemeanor, and he's facing up to a year in prison and a $5,000 fine. An arrest warrant was issued for Saxon on May 25 but was recalled on June 8. 

According to the woman, Saxon pushed her repeatedly including one time that caused her to fall into the garage door. During the interaction, Saxon allegedly said, "You got your gun? You might as well just shoot me now!" the woman claimed. Saxon, 56, has been the Cardinals running back coach since 2019. Before joining the Cardinals, Saxon held the same position with the Pittsburgh Steelers, Minnesota Vikings, Miami Dolphins, Kansas City Chiefs and Buffalo Bills. He also spent time as a player, spending time with the Chiefs, Dolphins and Philadelphia Eagles as a running back. 

Kingsbury said offensive assistants Donald Shumpert and Kenny Bell will coach the running backs during Saxon's absence. This news comes as the Cardinals are getting ready for their first game of the preseason, which is against the Cincinnati Bengals on Friday, Aug. 12. "You never want distractions when you're trying to build a team," Kingsbury said. "But we've definitely had that. Luckily, we have some great leaders. Guys who can compartmentalize things and continue to work to get better, but you'd like for them to focus on football moving forward. Hopefully, that's the case."