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Nkemdiche charged with pot possession after hotel fall

Ole Miss coach Hugh Freeze said he “can’t say” yet whether Robert Nkemdiche will play in the Sugar Bowl after a fall from an Atlanta hotel window over the weekend left the star defensive tackle with minor injuries and a charge of marijuana possession.

Nkemdiche was charged with marijuana possession Monday after marijuana cigarettes were found in a fourth-story room Nkemdiche fell from at the Grand Hyatt Atlanta in Buckhead late Saturday night, according to a supplemental report sent to the EAGLE by the Atlanta Police Department.

According to the report, an officer identified as Lt. Hunt went to room 422 to gather clues from the incident, which, according to the report, allegedly involved Nkemdiche breaking through a window onto a ledge and eventually falling to the ground where he was seen lying in front of the hotel’s interior sidewalk and driveway area.

“I immediately noticed that one of the double-pane windows was busted out,” stated Hunt, who noted in the report the room was vacant upon arrival. “In plain sight on the table adjacent to the window, I saw approximately seven rolled marijuana cigarettes rolled in Cigarillo Blunt papers. The room was in complete disarray. Inv. Kornbacher served a search warrant of the room and collected any/all illegal contraband. During the course of his investigation, Inv. Kornbacher was able to create a nexus between the room and Mr. Nkemdiche, thus linking him to the marijuana.”

According to the initial police report, Nkemdiche was conscious and breathing Saturday when police arrived on the scene after responding to a call pertaining to an injured person, who was identified as Nkemdiche. He was transported to Grady Memorial Hospital where he was met by APD investigators, according to the report.

Speaking publicly Monday for the first time since the incident before the Rebels held their first practice for their bowl game against Oklahoma State on Jan. 1, Freeze said he spoke briefly to Nkemdiche and his father over the phone Sunday and learned that Nkemdiche had stitches in his back and leg as well as a swollen ankle.

Freeze said Nkemdiche was expected back in Oxford sometime Monday.

“It was really short. ‘Are you OK?’ ‘Yes, I’m OK. Coach, I’m sorry,’” Freeze said of the phone conversation. “I said, ‘Look, we’ll talk about all the details after we get all the facts.’ I just told him I’m glad you’re OK.”

Still some unknowns
Hunt stated in his supplemental report that “neither Mr. Nkemdiche nor his friends who were on scene could advise how he fell from the fourth floor.” Police said they were unsure how Nkemdiche made it over two ledges and onto the ground and that Nkemdiche nor the people he was with were willing to provide that information.

Police said the investigation is ongoing.

“There’s no cut-and-dry answer to these deals until you kind of figure out what you’re dealing with,” Freeze said. “Kids make mistakes all the time. I wish there was a pattern that said, ‘This is exactly what you do when these do,’ but you don’t have one of those. We’ll gather all the facts, and the first thing is we’ll let our docs look at him and make sure he’s healthy and everything is well. It’s really too hard to tell. I can’t say that today (if he will play).”

The 6-foot-4, 296-pound Nkemdiche is a projected top-10 pick in next year’s NFL draft. The junior has 29 tackles, including seven for loss, and three sacks this season.