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UPDATE: ECU Football Player Suspended "Indefinitely" After Animal Cruelty Arrest

East Carolina University head Football Coach Ruffin McNeill says a red-shirt freshman player is suspended indefinitely from all team activities in a statement released Thursday.

Montese Overton was arrested along with another ECU student, Nicole Phillips, Wednesday on misdemeanor charges of animal cruelty and abandonment after Greenville police say they abandoned a puppy in an apartment they rented. Police say the pit bull was left with no food or water for 6 days.

Phillips and Overton have been released on $500 bond.

The dog is being monitored at a private facility.

Here is the full release from Coach McNeill:
“I was made aware of the situation involving Montese and have spoken with him regarding his version of the event. He has been a model student-athlete in our program and I will continue to gather information as it becomes available. We have made great strides to promote responsible citizenship in our community and I emphasize those directives on a continual basis. While this charge is certainly contrary to that progress, I think how we address this issue will say more about our program than the actions of an individual who reportedly chose not to act in a responsible manner. With that said, I have suspended Montese indefinitely from all team activities as we go through the legal process."

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ECU Athletics Director Terry Holland also posted a "Message to the Pirate Nation" on ecupirates.com Thursday about expected student-athlete behavior.

In the website message Holland writes, "The Pirate Nation has every right to expect the behavior of our student-athletes to be exemplary, particularly those individuals who are receiving full scholarships and who are members of high-visibility teams."

Holland never mentions the the recent arrests of 4 students athletes specifically, but goes on to say, "Everyone here at the university is working hard to find the proper balance for treating violations seriously while teaching the individual important life lessons as they transition to their future lives."

You can find the entire letter in the link below.

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Pirate Head Football Coach Ruffin McNeill spoke to WITN's Lynnette Taylor on the phone about the arrest of one of his player, Montese Overton.

McNeill who is not in the area at this time says he first heard about the arrest today. He says, "At this time, we would like to look into the matter further and not just jump to conclusions. Montese Overton is not a good kid, he's a great kid and has always worked hard on the field for me. The plan is to take a look at the information and then go through due diligence in this case, but we have to look at the facts first before making that decision."

Greenville Police say Montese Overton, an ECU football player out of South Central High School and Nicole Phillips, moved out of their apartment at 3200 B Moseley Drive and left a pit bull puppy in a wire cage.

Police say the dog had been there without food or water for at least six days, and there was no power.

They are both charged with animal cruelty and abandonment.

ECU Athletics Director Terry Holland also posted a "Message to the Pirate Nation" on ecupirates.com about expected student-athlete behavior. You can find the entire letter in the link below.

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Pirate Heat Football Coach Ruffin McNeill is expected to release a statement today about the arrest of a red-shirt freshman linebacker. Sports Director Billy Weaver reports McNeill has been made aware of the arrest of Montese Overton, and the coach is expected to make a statement today.

Greenville Police say two ECU students were arrested on misdemeanor charges of animal cruelty and abandonment.

Police say Nicole Phillips and Montese Overton, an ECU football player out of South Central High School, moved out of their apartment at 3200 B Moseley Drive and left a pit bull puppy in a wire cage. Police say the dog had been there without food or water for at least six days, and there was no power.

Police say the lease holder of the apartment, who lives in Charlotte, sublet it to Phillips and Overton. The dog was there when that person came back to check on the apartment.

Phillips and Overton have been released on $500 bond.

The dog is being monitored at a private facility.


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