Posted: 12:34 pm Monday, July 19th, 2010
By Post Staff
The Dolphins open their 2010 training camp in 12 days, but defensive end Phillip Merling has bigger things to worry about.
The state attorney’s office in Broward County officially filed felony charges against Merling on Friday for aggravated battery on a victim he should have known was pregnant. No court date has been set (it will likely be set within a week), but prosecutor Sarahnell Murphy found enough evidence that Merling, 25, battered his pregnant girlfriend to move forward with the case.
Merling’s attorney already entered a plea of not guilty and requested a trial by jury, the state attorney’s office confirmed.
Merling, the Dolphins’ 2008 second-round pick who has not lived up to expectations, was arrested early in the morning on May 27 after his girlfriend called police to their Weston home. Merling, who stands 6-foot-4, 305 pounds, is accused of striking his girlfriend in the face, causing redness and swelling and a cut on her lip.
“This is an emergency. Please come help me,” the girlfriend said in the 911 call after she barricaded herself in her bathroom. “His name is Phillip Merling. He hit me about five times in my face. What is the address? Please come. STOP!”
The incident occurred on the eve of the first day of the Dolphins’ Organized Team Activities, yet Merling did not face any discipline from the Dolphins and worked with the First Team defense for most of the offseason workouts. The NFL office will handle any discipline stemming from the outcome of this case.
Merling, though, apparently is not in the good graces of his bosses. A report from Pro Football Weekly states that Merling is on “thin ice” with the Dolphins, and that was before he was arrested in May. Merling, the 32nd overall pick in 2008, has just 3.5 sacks and four starts in two NFL seasons, and his subpar performance forced the Dolphins to take Jared Odrick in the first round of this past April’s draft.
Merling is signed through next season, but should the Dolphins cut Merling, they would save about $1.3 million in base salary he is due over the next two years.
Merling’s arrest also received extra attention because of the way Merling was treated at the Broward County Jail. Officer Alvin Pollock allowed Merling to exit the jail through a back door to avoid the crush of media waiting to interview him. Pollock also gave Merling a ride home. Broward sheriff Al Lamberti denounced the special treatment in a press conference and said he would conduct an internal investigation in the matter.
A Broward Police spokesperson confirmed that while the investigation is still on-going, Pollock, formerly a jail deputy commander who supervised personnel at courthouse, has been re-assigned to an administrative position at a Broward Police service center, where the police take their cruisers to be serviced.