Details emerge in arrest of ex-WKU TE Tyler Higbee (Update)

Graham Watson

Update: 4/12 - 10:15 a.m. ET

Higbee's attorney told NFL.com that his client plans to plead not guilty to assault charges. Brian Lowder, Higbee's attorney, says Higbee acted in self-defense after the alleged victim "shoved" Higbee's girlfriend. 

"Our defense is that (Higbee) was justified in using force based on the aggressive and physical actions of the alleged victim," Lowder said. "(Alsaleh) started the altercation, escalated it, shoved Mr. Higbee's girlfriend, and at that point, Mr. Higbee utilized force to neutralize the situation. Mr. Higbee struck the individual one time and unfortunately, he hit his head, which caused the injuries."

Lowder also disputed the evading police charge against Higbee, saying his client cooperated with police, though he did leave the scene of the alleged incident.

- - - Original story: 4/11 - 12:40 p.m. ET - - -

Former Western Kentucky TE Tyler Higbee, who is preparing for the NFL draft, was arrested early Sunday morning after an altercation outside a Bowling Green bar that left an alleged victim unconscious with a brain hemorrhage and a concussion, according to the Bowling Green Daily News.

The alleged victim is in stable but serious condition. He had to be airlifted to Skyline Medical Center in Nashville.

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Higbee was arrested and charged with second-degree assault, alcohol intoxication in a public place and second-degree fleeing or evading police.

According to the police report obtained by the Daily News, when police arrived the alleged victim, Nawaf Alsaleh, "was lying unconscious in the parking lot of Tidballs with blood running from his mouth."

Higbee was not at the scene, but police saw him running across the parking lot of a local pizza place and followed in pursuit. Higbee, who according to the report, "smelled strongly of alcoholic beverages" and "was unsteady on his feet and his speech was slow and heavily slurred," was found trying to hide behind a small tree on the border of a church parking lot.

He had a cut on his right hand that police said had fresh blood.

Higbee told police "an individual of Middle Eastern descent was bothering" Higbee and his girlfriend.

Higbee said in the report “(Alsaleh) was rubbing his head against he (and his girlfriend's) faces and was told to stop multiple times.”

Higbee told police he and his girlfriend left the bar and went to get food from an food truck near another bar when Alsaleh approached them again.

From the Daily News:

Higbee stated that Alsaleh got in the "personal space" of him and his girlfriend "and was calling his friends telling them to come to their location to fight Higbee."

"I asked Higbee how he knew that because Higbee said Alsaleh was speaking in a language he did not understand," the officer wrote in the report. "Higbee said that he 'just knew.'"

Once at the jail, Higbee told the officer "that Alsaleh never tried to fight him or come after him as if he was going to harm him. Higbee just said that Alsaleh got into his and (his girlfriend's) personal space so he hit Alsaleh," according to the report.

Higbee was held on a $10,000 bond and released Sunday afternoon.

Higbee is considered one of the better tight end prospects in the draft. Despite missing five games because of a knee injury, he caught 38 passes for 563 yards and eight touchdowns for the Hilltoppers. He was invited to the NFL combine, but did not participate in drills because of his knee.

According to the Daily News, Higbee already worked out with the Denver Broncos and had visits scheduled with the New Orleans Saints and Baltimore Ravens.

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For more Western Kentucky news, InsideHilltopperSports.com.

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Graham Watson is the editor of Dr. Saturday on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email her at dr.saturday@ymail.com or follow her on Twitter!

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