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Ausar Walcott pleads not guilty to attempted murder

Former Cleveland Browns rookie linebacker Ausar Walcott on Thursday pleaded not guilty to attempted murder and other charges in Paterson, New Jersey, according to The Associated Press.

The 23-year-old was charged on Tuesday with first-degree attempted murder, second-degree aggravated assault and third-degree endangering an injured victim. The charges stemmed from an incident in which Walcott allegedly punched Derek Jones in the head early Sunday outside The Palace Gentlemen's Club in Passaic.

Ausar Walcott, courtesy of the Passaic County Sheriff's Office
Ausar Walcott, courtesy of the Passaic County Sheriff's Office

At Walcott's arraignment on Thursday, a prosecutor announced that Jones currently is in a medically induced coma and listed in critical condition at a New York hospital, The AP reported.

Walcott, an undrafted player from Virginia, was released by the Browns on Wednesday. A source close to the situation told NFL Network's Michelle Beisner that the Browns cut him without hesitation because the team "will not tolerate that kind of behavior."

Walcott -- also suspended for his involvement in a fight while at Virginia -- is being held on $500,000 bail and represented by a public defender. He is in the process of trying to hire an attorney as his case shifts to a grand jury.

Largely obscured by the Aaron Hernandez arrest, Walcott now faces serious charges. But even before the Browns parted ways with the linebacker, he was a longshot to make the team. Signed in May, Walcott was just another body in coordinator Ray Horton's 3-4 defense. The Browns used the offseason to restock at linebacker with Paul Kruger, Quentin Groves and rookie Barkevious Mingo on the outside, and D'Qwell Jackson and Craig Robertson penciled in on the inside. Walcott's future with the Browns was cloudy from the start.

Follow Marc Sessler on Twitter @MarcSesslerNFL.

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