Terps' R. Costa suspended

Linebacker charged with assault after allegedly punching police officer

ban from team is indefinite

College Football

November 12, 2008|By Jeff Barker | Jeff Barker,jeff.barker@baltsun.com

COLLEGE PARK - Maryland linebacker Rick Costa has been suspended from the team indefinitely after being accused of punching a police officer in the face at a local bar early Sunday morning.

Costa, a senior criminology major who had been splitting time with Trey Covington at outside linebacker, was charged with assault after police were summoned to the Cornerstone Grill & Loft in College Park at about 2:25 a.m.

Costa had been trying to get into the bar and began brawling with a bouncer when told the bar was closing, police said.

"The officer rushed over to try and break up the fight when he came in contact with two employees who work at the bar as bouncers," said Officer Henry Tippett, spokesman for the Prince George's County Police Department. Tippett said he was paraphrasing from a document - a statement of charges - filed against Costa over the weekend.

The bouncers told police that Costa and two other unidentified males had been told "they had to leave," Tippett said.

"At this point, the defendant [Costa] became combative, striking one of the bouncers in the face. Another bouncer came to intervene and tried to stop Costa from fighting with the other bouncer, at which point Costa pushed him away," Tippett said.

Tippett continued: "The officer approached Costa. He announced himself as a police officer. The officer said Costa was intoxicated and disorderly, at which point he punched the officer in the right side of his eye, causing a face injury."

Attempts to identify and interview Costa's attorney through the university or court records were unsuccessful. Courthouses were closed yesterday because of Veterans Day.

Costa was charged with assault. He was later released on bond.

Coach Ralph Friedgen said at yesterday's media lunch that Costa had been suspended because of an "off-campus incident" but declined to elaborate.

"Due to the nature of the charges, Rick has been indefinitely suspended from all team activities, including practice and game participation," Friedgen later said in a statement . "Once the issue has been resolved, Rick's status with the team will be re-evaluated."

Costa has played in nine games, starting two. His 22 tackles include seven that resulted in lost yardage - second to Moise Fokou (7 1/2 ).

Costa's brother, Phil, is a starting offensive lineman on the team. The Costas are from Moorestown, N.J.

Rick Costa began his career at Temple, then transferred to Maryland after redshirting as a freshman.

Notes:: The Terps are shuffling their defensive line after freshman Darren Evans rushed for a school-record 253 yards for Virginia Tech in the Hokies' 23-13 win Thursday night. Defensive tackle Jeremy Navarre will move to end, a position he played in previous seasons. Travis Ivey will become a starter at tackle, and redshirt freshman Dion Armstrong will be the new starter at nose tackle. Ivey had been been backing up Navarre and Dean Muhtadi, and Armstrong had been behind Olugbemi Otulaja. Coaches said the goal is to get the best linemen on the field at once. "We're just shuffling the deck a little bit. All those guys have been playing," defensive line coach Dave Sollazzo said. ... Senior cornerback Kevin Barnes had surgery recently on his injured shoulder blade and collarbone. He is out for the season but said he might play in the Senior Bowl, a pre-draft game in January in which players try to impress NFL scouts. "The rotator cuff healed itself," Barnes said. "They had to put a pin in my collarbone, and they pulled up my [biceps] to anchor my shoulder so it will never slide out of place again." Barnes was injured against Wake Forest on Oct. 18.

NORTH CAROLINA @MARYLAND

Saturday, 3:30 p.m.

Radio: 105.7 FM, 1300 AM

Line: North Carolina by 2 1/2

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