Former USC defensive back Kevin Ellison was arrested on federal arson charges after he reportedly told investigators he set his bed on fire with a marijuana-filled cigar because "God" told him to, ESPN.com reported.
Ellison reportedly confessed to starting a fire that spread through an apartment early Thursday morning in Liberty Lake, Wash., after he initially told police he had been smoking in bed.
Ellison had been playing linebacker for the Spokane Shock of the Arena Football League.
During the fire, Ellison reportedly jumped from the third-story unit but only sustained smoke inhalation.
While being interviewed by authorities in a hospital, Ellison confessed to the fire, citing that God told him to do it. He later told a federal investigator "that he just wanted to get out of it and for it all to go away," according to The Spokesman-Review.
Spokane Valley Fire Marshal Kevin Miller told the newspaper that federal arson charges were typical for arson cases involving large apartment complexes. Ellison was arrested later Thursday.
Ellison's roommate and Shock teammate Chris Tucker said he was able to escape the fire after smoke detectors woke him.
Ellison was the only resident of the apartment complex who needed to be hospitalized.
Shock owner Brady Nelson said Ellison had sent text messages Thursday night claiming he was Jesus Christ and was part of the Second Coming, KXLY-TV of Spokane reported.
Ellison was suspended by the AFL pending results of the investigation.
"If he truly did this, he's never coming back," Nelson told KXLY-TV.
Ellison was a sixth-round draft pick by the Chargers in 2009 and played 13 games that season. Ellison also played for his former USC coach, Pete Carroll, with the Seattle Seahawks.