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October 05, 2016

Eagles LB Nigel Bradham charged with felony battery; expected to play vs. Lions

Eagles NFL
031116_Bradham_AP Matt Rourke/AP

Philadelphia Eagles linebacker Nigel Bradham.

Over the bye week, Eagles linebacker Nigel Bradham was arrested on a weapons charge when he tried carrying a loaded handgun, for which he had a license, through security at Miami International Airport. Typically, he would have been cited and let go for the misdemeanor, but because Bradham was involved in an ongoing battery case stemming from an incident earlier in the summer in which he allegedly assaulted a cabana boy at Miami hotel, he was arrested and spent several hours in police custody.

According to TMZ, however, it's the early case that could mean big trouble for Bradham. On Wednesday, he was formally charged with felony battery and if found guilty, could face some serious prison time.

Officials say Bradham got upset because the worker was taking too long -- so he punched the guy in the face. Someone in Bradham's group allegedly smashed the worker over the head with a glass bottle. 

Now, the Miami State Attorney’s Office tells us Bradham has been formally charged with aggravated battery causing bodily harm -- a 2nd degree felony. 

Bradham has pled not guilty -- but if he's convicted, he faces up to 15 years in prison. The trial is set for January. []

“Obviously, my messaging the week before [the bye] is, ‘Be smart. Be careful. Protect each other away from the building,’” Eagles coach Doug Pederson said. “Obviously [the arrest] was away from here. Guys have got to make better decisions when they’re away from the building. It’s unfortunate. It’s obviously out of my hands now, it’s a legal matter, but you’ve just got to use your head and be smart in those situations.”

Bradham has maintained his innocence and Pederson insisted that until he has all the information, the 27-year-old will continue to practice and is expected to play on Sunday against the Lions. He also said that while Bradham hasn't been punished, he has been spoken to by several people and that he "understands."

It remains to be seen if the new charges will change Pederson's mind. Prior to this latest news, he said Wednesday that this kind of behavior is exactly what he warned the players about before they headed out for their week off.

Following his earlier arrest, Pederson decided not to punish Bradham until the legal process had played itself out. He also said that he wanted to see what, if any, punishment would be handed down by the NFL.

When it comes to the gun charge, Bradham's guilt is far less in doubt. The nature of the crime, however, is one born of stupid and not necessarily soaked in criminal intent. Pederson, who said he owned rifles and likes to hunt, couldn't quite wrap his head around why his linebacker would do something so foolish. 

“I don’t know why anybody would do that,” he added. “I don’t know all the circumstances around it. And it’s obviously a big deal, to do that. ... We just have to be smart. It is a little surprising that he [tried to] carry it on.”

Follow Matt on Twitter: @matt_mullin