Dolphins' Merling Busted for Beating Pregnant Girlfriend

Defensive end arrested in Weston on domestic violence charge

By Brian Hamacher
|  Friday, May 28, 2010  |  Updated 11:22 AM EDT
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MIAMI - AUGUST 09: Defensive end Philip Merling #97 of the Miami Dolphins during a pre season game against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers on August 9, 2008 at Dolphin Stadium in Miami, Florida. Tampa defeated Miami 17-6. (Photo by Marc Serota/Getty Images)

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Merling Arrested

Phillip Merling allegedly hit his pregnant girlfriend.
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Dolphins defensive end Phillip Merling was arrested Wednesday after police said he battered a pregnant woman.

Merling, 25, was arrested in Weston for aggravated battery on his girlfriend, identified as Kristen Lennon, who he should have known was pregnant, according to police records.

He allegedly hit her on the face and head, causing redness and swelling and even a cut on her lip, according to police.

He made a court appearance later Thursday where his bail was set at $15,000.

Lennon is two months pregnant with thecouple's second child. 

The 6-foot-4 1/2, 300 pound backup was drafted in the second round in 2008 by Miami after a stellar career at Clemson, where he earned second-team All-ACC honors in 2007.

Merling posted 33 tackles for the Dolphins last year to go along with his 2.5 sacks.

Just this past Sunday, in a Miami Herald article titled "Miami Dolphins' Merling Out to Prove Himself," Merling said he hoped to live up the expectations that came after he was taken with the Dolphins' 32nd overall pick.

"This is a big year for me," Merling told the Herald. "I was not pleased with last year, not even a little bit. I feel like I'm a rookie this year, trying to prove myself. It's time for me to start contributing like coaches want me to. My coaches and teammates want me to get better, and I don't want to let them down."

Merling's let down Wednesday was just the latest in a trouble-filled off season for Miami. Lineman Tony McDaniel was arrested in early February after a domestic dispute with his girlfriend, followed by cornerback Will Allen's DUI arrest two weeks later. Running back Ronnie Brown was busted for DUI a month later in Atlanta.

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