Former Tennessee, NFL wide receiver charged with battery at Sugarloaf home

Carl Pickens

Carl Pickens

Gwinnett County police have charged former college and pro football standout Carl Pickens with battery, alleging that he assaulted his wife inside their Duluth home.

Warrants were issued Sunday for Pickens, an All-American wide receiver at the University of Tennessee in 1991 before making two Pro Bowls — and a fair amount of controversy— with the NFL’s Cincinnati Bengals. Gwinnett County jail records showed he had not been arrested as of Tuesday afternoon.

Initial police reports were not yet available, but warrants alleged that Pickens caused “visible bodily harm” to a woman believed to be his wife by “pinning her down on the couch by her neck, leaving bruise marks.” The incident occurred between 10:30 and 11 p.m. Saturday at Pickens’ $1.35-million home inside Sugarloaf Country Club.

The charge of battery by causing visible bodily harm is a misdemeanor.

Pickens, 43, was also arrested in Gwinnett on family violence battery charges in 2010. Details surrounding that arrest were not available Tuesday, but court records showed the former football player ultimately pleaded guilty and was sentenced to a year of probation.

Pickens, who is black, made headlines in 1993 when he allegedly shouted racially charged insults at opposing player Rod Woodson, who was born to a black father and white mother. Once the Bengals’ all-time leading receiver, Pickens’ 1999 comments criticizing a coach started the trend of teams including loyalty clauses in contracts.