Illinois football staffer facing gun charges after 'joke'

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. 

CBS Sports Writer

Chip Patterson has spent his young career covering college sports from the Old North State. He's been writing and talking about football and basketball for CBS Sports since 2010. You may have heard him... Full Bio

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