Shortly after running back Derrius Guice was arrested Friday on domestic violence-related charges, the Washington Football Team announced it was releasing the 23-year-old running back.
Guice faces charges that include one count of strangulation, a felony, according to a spokesman for the Loudoun County Sheriff’s Office. The other charges are three counts of assault and battery as well as one count of destruction of property.
Guice turned himself in at the Loudoun Adult Detention Center shortly after 5 p.m. He was handcuffed in the parking lot of the facility before being taken inside. Guice was released on bond and shortly before 7:30 p.m. was seen driving away in a silver Range Rover.
A team statement released less than two hours after Guice was taken into custody said club officials learned of the allegations against Guice on Thursday and notified the NFL. They then met with Guice and told him he was excused from team activities while the club reviewed the situation.
“This afternoon we learned that there were multiple charges filed against Derrius,” the statement said. “Upon review of the nature of these charges and following internal discussions, we have decided to release Derrius immediately.”
Guice hired Peter D. Greenspun, a criminal attorney in Northern Virginia who has worked on numerous high-profile cases, including representing D.C. sniper John Allen Muhammad in his capital murder trial in 2003 and sportscaster Marv Albert on sodomy charges in 1997.
As Guice turned himself in, he stood on a corner in the parking lot with an officer before two women approached him, spoke to him briefly and then waited as the officer handcuffed him. Guice was led inside moments before Greenspun pulled up and walked inside the detention center. About an hour later, Greenspun walked out, without Guice, and drove off.
“The investigators did not seek a statement or any input from Derrius before the warrants were issued,” Greenspun said in a statement obtained by The Washington Post on Friday night. “The failure to fully investigate allegations of events, which allegedly took place months ago, is inexplicable. Based only on the assertion of these unsubstantiated charges, the Washington Football Team released Derrius, also without any inquiry as to what did or did not take place.
“Derrius … was released without a single question as to what occurred. Derrius will defend these charges in court, where a full vetting of the allegations will take place, in contrast to actions by local law enforcement and the Washington Football Team that assumed the worst, directly contradicting every sense of fairness and due process.”
The arrest came after three incidents were reported to the Montgomery County Police Department in Maryland, where the person he is alleged to have abused lives, according to the sheriff’s office. The department determined assaults took place Feb. 14, March 13 and April 17 at Guice’s Ashburn home. The sheriff’s office learned of the accusations July 22. The investigation was coordinated by officials in Loudoun and Montgomery counties. Guice was released on a $10,000 unsecured bond.
Washington selected Guice in the second round of the 2018 draft after the running back fell out of the first round because of questions about his maturity and durability. At the time, the team felt it had gotten a bargain — a gifted runner from Baton Rouge who had starred at his hometown LSU. But a promising professional career was derailed in Washington’s first preseason game that summer when he tore the ACL in his left knee following his first big run.
Off the field, he had become a favorite of fans who were intrigued by his talent and enjoyed his Twitter feed, on which he has detailed his comebacks from injuries and offered public invitations to play video games with him.
As of Friday, it appeared Guice had deleted his Twitter and Instagram accounts.
Guice also has been open about a difficult childhood that included the 2003 murder of his father, Derrick Keith Guice, who was shot to death at a restaurant in Baton Rouge following an argument with another man.
Though Guice was cleared to play this summer and has appeared to be healthy as Washington’s training camp begins, he was facing a stiff battle for playing time that once seemed assured. In addition to Adrian Peterson, who was signed following Guice’s injury in 2018, Guice was set to battle with newcomers Peyton Barber, J.D. McKissic and Antonio Gibson as well as Bryce Love, a 2019 draft pick who missed last season while recovering from a torn ACL.
Guice’s arrest and release came three weeks after a Washington Post report in which 15 female former employees and two female reporters accused high-ranking team officials of sexual harassment. The team fired two scouting executives who were named in the report, and longtime play-by-play broadcaster Larry Michael, who also was named in the report, announced his retirement.
The team was in contact with the NFL throughout its investigation, according to a person with knowledge of the situation. Guice could face discipline from the league under its personal conduct policy. The NFL has generally suspended players for six games in domestic violence cases, but some penalties have been lighter or stricter.
Justin Jouvenal and Mark Maske contributed to this report.