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Former NFL Player Faces Federal Arson Charges: Fan Take

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In an incident that is both scary and sad, former San Diego Chargers and Seattle Seahawks defensive back Kevin Ellison has been arrested and charged with setting his Liberty Lake, Wash., apartment on fire on June 14. Ellison, who has been charged in federal court, allegedly told investigators that he set the fire because "God" told him to.

Ian Cull of KXLY4 in Spokane, Wash., reports that there were no injuries as a result of the fire, which was likely helped by a stroke of luck. Spokane Valley firefighters were already responding to a low-level call nearby at approximately 5:30 a.m. when they noticed flames coming from the apartment complex in the Spokane suburb. They diverted to the apartment fire and arrived as flames were visible out the window.

According to the Probable Cause Affidavit posted by KXLY4, the complex contains a total of 297 apartments. A total of 23 apartments are housed in the building in which the third-floor fire was burning.

Ellison, who is a linebacker for the Spokane Shock of the Arena Football League, allegedly told investigators that he "had deliberately set his bed on fire with a cigar, because 'God' had told him to set his bed on fire." Shock general manager Ryan Rigmaiden allegedly told investigators that Ellison made a similar statement to him, too.

Ellison was placed on league suspension on June 14.

Ellison's roommate and teammate, Shock defensive lineman David Tucker, was unhurt. After alerting Ellison to the fire through a bedroom door, Tucker assisted in alerting and evacuating other residents.

Preliminary property damage is estimated at $50,000.

Ellison played college football for USC and was selected in the sixth round of the 2009 NFL Draft by the Chargers. He started 9 games for San Diego in the 2009 season, registering 52 total tackles, a sack, and three passes defended.

After his 2010 release from the Chargers, Ellison was reunited with his college coach, Pete Carroll, with the Seahawks. He was released by Seattle just prior to the 2010 season, however.

Ellison was assigned to the Shock on May 7 and played in five games for Spokane at linebacker. He tallied 13.5 tackles and a fumble recovery. By all indications, he was well-respected on the team.

However, Shock owner Brady Nelson noticed that something had changed in Ellison over the few days leading up to the fire. According to Cull's story on KXLY4, "Nelson said that the coaches started getting a weird vibe off Ellison and that on Wednesday night he started sending out texts to people claiming he was Jesus and was part of the second coming."

Ellison was treated for smoke inhalation and then arrested at the hospital on the federal arson charge.

The author is a Featured Contributor in Sports for the Yahoo! Contributor Network. He is also an avid fan of the Seahawks and of the Arena Football League. You can follow him on Twitter at @RedZoneWriting and on Facebook.

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