Jalen Carter will return to Georgia to address the police warrant issued for his arrest, in connection with a car crash that killed one of Carter’s Bulldogs teammates and a team staffer. On Wednesday, Georgia police announced a warrant for Carter’s arrest on suspicion of reckless driving and racing. The crash took place before 3 a.m. on Jan. 15., just hours after the Bulldogs finished celebrating their national championship victory at Sanford Stadium.
Carter released a statement later on Wednesday expressing confidence his name would be cleared.
“This morning I received a telephone call from the Athens, Georgia police department informing me that two misdemeanor warrants have been issued against me for reckless driving and racing,” Carter said in the statement. “Numerous media reports also have circulated this morning containing inaccurate information concerning the tragic events of January 15, 2023. It is my intention to return to Athens to answer the misdemeanor charges against me and to make certain that the complete and accurate truth is presented. There is no question in my mind that when all of the facts are known that I will be fully exonerated of any criminal wrongdoing.”
Previous to the report of his arrest warrant, Carter was widely believed to be a top-four pick in the upcoming NFL Draft and many projected the Bears could select him. It’s unclear how this report will affect his draft stock, but prospects have seen their names fall down draft boards after similar stories broke. In 2016, Laremy Tunsil was regarded as the top left tackle in the draft and a possible top-five pick, but moments before the draft started Tunsil’s Twitter account was hacked and published a video of him using a gas mask bong. Tunsil was passed over by two teams who drafted left tackles, and was ultimately selected No. 13 overall.
“The charges announced today are deeply concerning, especially as we are still struggling to cope with the devastating loss of two beloved members of our community,” said Bulldogs head coach Kirby Smart in a statement. “We will continue to cooperate fully with the authorities while supporting these families and assessing what we can learn from this horrible tragedy.”
Carter was scheduled to speak with the media at 9:30 a.m. on Wednesday at the NFL Combine, but according to multiple reports Combine officials said Carter was part of a group of athletes who got held up during medical assessments. None of those players, including Carter, were made available to the media.
The Bears rostered several players who had run-ins with the law last year. Wide receiver David Moore was arrested on drug and weapons charges last July when he was found in a Taco Bell drive through with THC edibles and three guns in his car, according to a police report. Matt Adams was booked with misdemeanor gun possession in June, because hadn’t registered for his Illinois Firearm Owners ID card. In April, Byron Pringle was arrested for reckless driving and driving on a suspended license. Per TMZ, police found Pringle doing donuts on a public road with another adult and his son in the car.
The NFL draft begins Apr. 27.