Illinois football staffer facing gun charges after 'joke'

By Chip Patterson | College Football/Basketball Writer

Illinois football staff member and former NFL player Matt Sinclair faces gun charges after allegedly pointing a handgun at a vehicle carrying other staff members.

Champaign County State's Attorney Julia Rietz told the Associated Press that Sinclair was arraigned on two felony counts of unlawful use of a weapon. Sinclair, who holds the title of assistant director of player personnel and relations, was arrested as he drove his truck home from Illinois' game at Purdue.

More details, via the AP:

Someone called police around 4 p.m. Saturday to report a driver pointing a gun out of a truck on Interstate 74 in eastern Illinois.

After police arrested Sinclair a short time later in Urbana, "(Sinclair) told them it was a joke," Rietz said.

A phone listing for Sinclair is disconnected and he does not yet have a lawyer.

Police said they also found a set of brass knuckles in the truck and a loaded magazine for the gun. Rietz said Sinclair was also charged with a misdemeanor related to the brass knuckles.

Sinclair played linebacker at Illnois from 2001-04 then continued his playing career in the NFL with the Baltimore Ravens, Miami Dolphins and Washington Redskins.

Fighting Illini coach Tim Beckman told the AP that Sinclair "clearly had a lapse of judgement," but declined to comment further.

Illinois will wrap up the 2013 season at home against Northwestern on Saturday.

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