Dolphin End Arrested for Hitting Pregnant Woman

By Matt Gullette

Dolphins back-up defensive end Phillip Merling was arrested yesterday and charged with domestic abuse after reportedly striking a pregnant woman, according to the South Florida Sun-Sentinel.

Merling, a second-round draft pick out of Clemson in 2008, was arrested Wednesday in Weston, FL, and charged with one count of aggravated battery after allegedly hitting his girlfriend (the report does not specify whether or not they were married), causing her head and face to bleed.

A Broward County judge set the bond at $15,000 and ordered Merling to stay away from the woman, who is two months pregnant with their second child.

The 6-foot-4, 305-pound Merling has made two starts in his career, including the final game against the Steelers last season. The arrest certainly doesn’t help the 25-year-old’s case for a starting spot, though. He’s expected to compete with Jared Odrick at defensive end, Miami’s 28th overall pick out of Penn State.

Merling is entering his third season in Miami, but there’s a chance this incident will have a negative impact on Merling’s status for a spot on the Dolphins 53-man roster. He was ranked 12th on the team with 33 total tackles and tied for fifth with 2 1/2 sacks last season.

As the Dolphins get ready for mini-camp Friday, Bill Parcells can’t be too happy with the team’s off-season police record, which is almost as bad as their 2009 regular season record.

Including Merling’s arrest, four Dolphins have been arrested since the month of February, including fellow defensive lineman Tony McDaniel (also domestic battery), cornerback Will Allen (DUI) and running back Ronnie Brown (DUI).

Seriously, what’s going on in South Florida? That’s exactly the sort of thing Tuna will not tolerate. Somebody needs to address this string of bad decisions before the entire starting defense ends up on parole.

As for Merling, I have a feeling his stay in Miami may be coming to an abrupt end.

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