While the Pittsburgh Steelers were away from the team facility as part of the bye week, linebacker Anthony Chickillo was dealing with legal issues. The 26-year-old was arrested on Sunday after an incident with his girlfriend but was later released on a $10,000 bond. The Steelers have since responded to the news with general manager Kevin Colbert releasing a statement.
"In regard to the recent incident involving Anthony Chickillo, we will continue to gather information, and we will fully cooperate with the NFL's investigation. Any discipline involving the player will be determined after the gathering of further information from law enforcement and the League Office," said Colbert.
This statement was more in-depth than the previous version released by the team and added clarification to Chickillo's potential future with the team. He has not been released, and the Steelers will wait to make a decision about him.
#Breaking: Steelers LB Anthony Chickillo was arrested at overnight for an incident involving his girlfriend. Source confirms it happened at Nemacolin Woodlands Resort. He’s charged with Simple Assault, Criminal Mischief and Harassment. pic.twitter.com/hC4qPzmcZ8— Jim Madalinsky (@JimWTAE) October 21, 2019
When the team returned to practice on Monday, Chickillo was absent from the session, per Jacob Klinger of Penn Live. This created a potential view that the linebacker may be released following his arrest, but the absence was owed to other reasons.
Considering the history of the team and other players being charged with assault, battery, or similar issues, it's difficult to determine how Colbert and the Steelers will proceed. In his tenure as GM, the Steelers have seen quarterback Ben Roethlisberger, wide receivers Antonio Brown and Santonio Holmes, linebacker James Harrison, running back Chris Rainey and wide receiver Cedrick Wilson Sr. all arrested on various charges.
Of these players, only Rainey and Wilson were released in the immediate aftermath. The Steelers cut ties with Wilson mere hours after he was accused by his girlfriend of pushing her and punching her in the side of the head. Although she later said that he had only pushed her. Similarly, Rainey was charged with simple battery after allegedly dragging his girlfriend out of a car, slapping her across the face, and chasing her down as part of a dispute over a cell phone. He was released the same day.
Holmes was accused of assaulting the mother of one of his children just two months after being drafted by the Steelers. He remained with the team for four years but was later released following an incident in which he allegedly threw a glass at a woman.
Brown is no longer with the Steelers, but that is due to him requesting a trade at the end of the 2018 season. He was accused of pushing the mother of one of his children during a dispute over payment for their daughter's hair appointment.
Roethlisberger was accused of sexual assault by two women, but he was never criminally charged. He is out of the lineup due to an elbow injury, but the Steelers have long expressed the desire to keep him on the roster until he retires.
Harrison was arrested and charged with simple assault and criminal mischief following a dispute with his then-girlfriend in 2008. The charges were later dropped while Harrison remained with the team until 2017. The Steelers stuck with Harrison while releasing Wilson in the same span of time.
On paper, it appears that the Steelers have tended to release the fringe players on the roster but stick with the big-time contributors. Obviously, more details go into making the decision, but the team could come under more criticism depending on how the situation with Chickillo plays out. He is a rotational player that has only started nine of his 57 career games. Will he remain in Pittsburgh after the investigation?
(Photo Credit: Justin K. Aller/Getty)