The Chicago Bears and pass rusher Mario Edwards Jr. are being sued by a woman in Charlotte, North Carolina in relation to an alleged incident that occurred during the 2020 NFL season.
“A Charlotte woman is suing a Chicago Bears player, the team and an off-duty Charlotte-Mecklenburg police officer after an alleged assault at a Charlotte hotel,” WSOCTV.com reported on October 16.
“In the lawsuit, Joann Blakney claims Bears player Mario Edwards Jr. assaulted her in a hotel room while she was pregnant. Blakney said she has known Edwards for 10 years, according to the suit. They had dated on and off for several years before breaking up in 2019,” the report stated.
When he was asked about the incident last year, Bears coach Matt Nagy said this: “We’ve been in lock-step with the NFL on this the entire way. It’s something we take very seriously, and it’s not something that I’m going to be adding to because of the legal situation.”
According to WSOC’s report, however, the Bears allegedly offered to bribe Blakney at the time the incident occurred.
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Bears Involved in Cover-Up Attempt, Suit Alleges
According to WSOC, Blakney says the Bears were informed about Edwards’ alleged assault after it happened. She says the team responded by asking her if she wanted money:
In October 2020, Edwards was in Charlotte for a game against the Carolina Panthers. During that time, Edwards reached out to Blakney and asked her to meet him at his hotel, according to the lawsuit. During her visit that evening, Blakney said Edwards assaulted her when she refused to have sexual intercourse with him, the suit said. After the assault, Blakney said she approached an off-duty CMPD officer in the hotel’s lobby to report it, but the lawsuit said the officer didn’t call police and instead alerted members of the Bears staff who were also at the hotel. Several Bears staff members tried to talk with Blakney, saying they wanted to resolve the incident, according to the lawsuit. Blakney said one staff member asked her if she wanted money, the suit said.
Blakney is also suing the police officer allegedly involved.
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Bears Should Part Ways With Edwards
While he was a solid contributor on defense last year, tallying four sacks, six tackles for loss and seven QB hits in a rotational role, Edwards has not been worth the trouble for Chicago. He was suspended without pay for the first two games of the regular season this year for violating the NFL’s policy on performance-enhancing substances, and coupled with his legal issues and frequent and costly penalties, there’s really no reason to keep him around if you’re the Bears. He has played on just 21% of the team’s defensive snaps this year. Chicago could just as easily give Angelo Blackson more playing time to fill that void.
The Bears inked Edwards to a three-year, $11.6 million contract this offseason, so they would still have his contract on the books. He carries a $1.6 million cap hit and $5.5 million dead cap hit this year and a $4.2 million cap hit and a $2.2 million dead cap hit in 2022, but at this point, he feels like more trouble than he’s worth.