ANN ARBOR - Michigan coach Lloyd Carr came to the defense yesterday of his best defender - free safety Marlin Jackson.
Jackson, the Big Ten's preseason defensive player of the year, was arraigned last week on felonious assault and aggravated assault. He pleaded innocent to the charges, but a preliminary hearing is set for Wednesday.
If convicted of the felony, the 20-year-old Jackson could face up to four years in prison and a $2,000 fine.
The police report from the June 1 incident accuses Jackson of striking a 26-year-old man in the right eye with a bottle, requiring 17 stitches.
“In my judgment, some of the media leaks have been unprofessional, maybe worse,” Carr said. “What I do know - what Marlin has told me - is that No. 1, he did not initiate the confrontation.
“And No. 2, in my judgment the most critical issue, is that he is adamant that he did not use or have possession of a bottle or any kind of object.
“I think there's compelling evidence that supports his position.”
Carr said Jackson would continue to practice with the Wolverines until his case is cleared up.
“I will continue to let this situation play its way through the justice system and then we'll see how it resolves itself,” Carr said. “And at that time then, I will make some decisions as far as his status on the team.”