Rutgers QB Dismissed From Team
Rutgers has dismissed quarterback Philip Nelson from the team after he was charged with two counts of felony assault after a weekend fight outside a Minnesota bar that left another man gravely injured.
In a statement on the university's website coach Kyle Flood said, "the Rutgers football family’s thoughts and prayers are with Isaac Kolstad and his family."
Nelson's attorney tweeted that the Nelson family is "disappointed" at Rutgers decision
Nelson would have two seasons of eligibility left after sitting out this coming season due to NCAA transfer rules.
Issac Kolstad's family posted on their CaringBridge website that he had surgery on Tuesday. "It went well. Isaac remains in critical condition," reads the post.
Nelson, 20, kicked 24-year-old Isaac Dallas Kolstad in the head while Kolstad was lying on the ground after being struck by another man early Sunday morning, according to a criminal complaint. Kolstad, is a former Minnesota State Mankato linebacker.
Mankato Police have arrested Trevor Stenner Shelley, 21, of St. Peter, Minnesota at his home and faces possible first and third degree assault charges. The occupants of a white car in surveillance video sought for questioning have come forward and have been interviewed.
The complaint against Nelson said witnesses described Nelson as being upset over attention being paid to his girlfriend.
A police sergeant who viewed surveillance video described Kolstad striking Nelson in the back, then moving away and being pursued and struck by an unidentified man. Police released video in hopes of identifying the man, who ran from the scene.
"Nelson pushes past others, approaches I.K. and delivers at least one kick to the left side of I.K.'s head," the complaint reads. "Sergeant Knutson noted that the video clearly shows that I.K. was defenseless as Nelson delivers the kick or kicks to the head."
KSTP TV reports Kolstad's injuries include a skull fracture, bleeding and swelling of his brain and deterioration of his lungs.
Nelson appeared in court Monday wearing an orange jail jumpsuit, with his hands cuffed and his ankles chained. Afterward, his attorney Jim Fleming said it wasn't certain who caused Kolstad's injuries, suggesting the man being sought by police "threw a debilitating blow to the victim."
Fleming said Nelson "was not an aggressor in this situation."
Nelson posted bail and was released from jail Monday night according to a corrections worker who declined to give his name. Nelson's name was no longer listed on the Blue Earth County Jail roster.
Nelson was a top recruit when he came out of Mankato West as the state's Mr. Football in 2011, and spent much of his first two seasons as the Gophers' starter. He played in 11 games last season, but announced afterward that he would transfer to Rutgers and what he said was a more pass-friendly offense. He threw for 1,306 yards, nine touchdowns and six interceptions last season and ran for 364 yards.
Kolstad played at Mankato East and spent two seasons at North Dakota State before finishing his career at Minnesota State.
His family issued a statement saying it appreciated the support it has received since the fight. "We feel it — Isaac feels it — and we cannot express how important and helpful that has been," the statement said. The family also extended thoughts and prayers to the Nelson family "and others whose lives have been impacted by this situation."
Sam Thompson, who played football with Kolstad, told The Associated Press he was with him the night of the assault but declined to comment about what happened.
But he said Kolstad graduated in December and recently started working at Fastenal, a local company. He described Kolstad as a leader on and off the field and "just a family guy" who has a 3-year-old daughter and whose wife is pregnant.
"His personality is one people wish they had," Thompson said. "He is just one person... that people gravitate toward."
The Associated Press contributed to this report