Panthers' Bridges Arrested on Eve of Biggest Game

Carolina reserve guard Jeremy Bridges was arrested for the second time in 16 months late Sunday night, less than 24 hours before the Panthers' biggest game of the season against NFC South rival Tampa Bay.

According to the Mecklenburg County Sheriff's office, Bridges was charged with two counts of simple assault and battery and one count of communicating threats.

Bridges allegedly got into an argument with a woman after he accidentally showered patrons of a North Carolina restaurant with a bottle of Dom Perignon that he began shaking vigorously before it exploded on the crowd Saturday night, the manager of the bar told The Charlotte Observer.

The offensive lineman was asked to leave and agreed to do so, the paper reported.

The manager said a female patron who had been sprayed by the champagne began yelling something unintelligible at Bridges at which point he became angry and had to be restrained by a bouncer, the Observer reported.

"He's a big guy and we couldn't handle it anymore so we called the police," the manager told the Observer.

Bridges was released less than an hour later on $2,500 bond, the sheriff's Web site said.

"We aware are of it and we're in the process of gathering information," Panthers spokesman Charlie Dayton said.

It was uncertain if Bridges would be available to play in Monday's game against Tampa Bay, which matches 9-3 teams tied for the division lead.

Bridges' attorney, George Laughrun, did not immediately return a phone message left at his home early Monday.

Bridges' first arrest with Carolina came a day before players reported to training camp last season, when he was charged with pointing a gun at a woman outside a strip club. Bridges pleaded not guilty, but the Panthers still suspended him for the first two regular-season games.

Bridges was later convicted of the misdemeanor assault charge. He was given a suspended 60-day jail sentence and ordered to perform community service. Bridges appealed, but then dropped the case after the NFL decided not to further discipline him under the league's conduct policy.

Bridges has played in 10 games and started four this season due to injuries on the offensive line. The Southern Mississippi product was sidelined for Carolina's game against Detroit on Nov. 16 after being diagnosed with an irregular heartbeat before the game. He played on special teams in Carolina's last two games.

The 28-year-old Bridges started 14 games for Carolina at right tackle in 2006 before moving to guard a year later.

Copyright AP - Associated Press
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