AUSTIN Texas (Reuters) - Police were seeking to arrest Minnesota Vikings star running back Adrian Peterson on a charge of injury to a child, a Texas sheriff’s office said on Friday, while Peterson’s attorney said he used “a switch to spank his son.”
The National Football League’s Vikings also said in a statement they will drop Peterson from the team’s roster for Sunday’s game against the New England Patriots as the team looks into the matter.
Peterson, a Texas native, was indicted by a grand jury in Montgomery County, north of Houston, on a charge of injury to a child, and an arrest warrant was issued on Friday afternoon, the sheriff’s office said in a statement.
The report comes on the heels of the NFL indefinitely suspending Baltimore Ravens three-time Pro Bowl running back Ray Rice for domestic violence.
“The charged conduct involves using a switch to spank his son,” Peterson’s attorney, Rusty Hardin, said in a statement, adding the running back testified before a grand jury for “several hours” and was fully cooperating with authorities.
“Adrian is a loving father who used his judgment as a parent to discipline his son,” Hardin said. “Adrian never intended to harm his son and deeply regrets the unintentional injury.”
Hardin added that the discipline mirrored the treatment Peterson experienced growing up in east Texas.
“The Vikings are in the process of gathering information regarding the legal situation involving Adrian Peterson,” the team said in a statement.
Peterson, 29, a six-time Pro Bowl running back and a former NFL Most Valuable Player, is in his eighth season in the league, all with the Vikings. He has rushed for 10,190 yards and scored 91 touchdowns, 86 on the ground, in his career.
In 2012, Peterson rushed for 2,097 yards, the second-most in a single season in NFL history, trailing only Eric Dickerson’s 2,105 in 1984 with the Los Angeles Rams.
Peterson’s 2-year-old son died in October 2013 after being allegedly assaulted by his mother’s boyfriend in Sioux Falls, South Dakota. The man, Joseph R. Patterson, was indicted on second-degree murder charges.
Peterson told reporters at that time that he had learned about the child only two months before and had been preparing to provide financial assistance to his son and the child’s mother.
Reporting by Jon Herskovitz, Steve Ginsburg, Gene Cherry and Brendan O'Brien; Editing by Sandra Maler and Eric Beech