More details from Aaron Kromer’s weekend arrest in Florida emerged on Monday. A police report released by the Walton County (Fla.) Sheriff’s Office indicated that Kromer punched a minor in the eye, said he’d “kill his family” if he told police and then went back inside his house as his son helped the alleged victims retrieve the fishing pole he threw into the water.
The Buffalo Bills offensive line coach was then arrested early Sunday morning on a misdemeanor battery charge. The team has said they’re aware of the incident and in the “process of gathering the facts,” while an NFL spokesman said the matter is “under review.”
At some point, the Bills have a football decision to make with training camp two weeks away. Early signs point to the team letting the legal process play out and remaining as diligent as possible. The Bills do have an assistant offensive line coach on staff in Kurt Anderson, a 37-year-old highly regarded in coaching circles. Their primary offensive line coach from last year, Pat Morris, is also still available.
For now, management is wading through the case.
Names and ages of the three boys Kromer approached at Inlet Beach were not listed. But, per the redacted report, it all began with the 48-year-old Kromer yelling at the boys for using his beach chairs.
From there, the report continues, Kromer grabbed their fishing pole and threw it in the water.
“Aaron then pushed” the alleged victim “to the ground and punched him in the face,” the report states. “Aaron then told the boys to return the chairs to where they found them.” Victim “stated that Aaron told him that if he reported him to police that he would kill his family.”
The report then offered a new detail. After the threat, Kromer returned to his residence while his son, Zachery, talked to the boys about the chairs “and tried to help them locate their fishing pole before returning to the residence.” Police determined that Kromer did “willfully and intentionally strike” the boy against his will, causing bodily harm “to his left eye.”
Most of the police report is redacted, but it does state that two witnesses support the claim that Kromer hit the boy.
One source told FoxSports.com that Kromer couldn’t see the people in dark and that the kids “were belligerent and threatened Kromer.”
The Bills and the NFL will listen to Kromer’s side of the story. Yet in response to an embarrassing wave of off-field assaults last year, commissioner Roger Goodell has vowed to crack down on such violence.
If the Bills decide to completely cut ties with Kromer, at some point, Anderson could be a logical replacement. This will be the assistant’s fourth season with the team – head coach Rex Ryan opted to retain Anderson from Doug Marrone’s staff.
One key question Ryan must ask: Who was responsible for the Bills’ success up front in 2013 and problems in 2014? In 2013, the Bills ranked second in rushing (144.2 yards per game, 4.2 per carry). Last season, the Bills ranked 25th (92.6, 3.7). Buffalo’s offensive identity this season will begin and end with the running game, new lead back (LeSean McCoy) and two new guards (Richie Incognito and rookie John Miller).
Anderson previously spent five seasons at Eastern Michigan, serving as the run game coordinator from 2010-12. In 2011, Eastern Michigan rushed for 2,620 yards and 16 touchdowns on 575 carries as the 16th-best run game in the nation. The 2,620 yards was good for second-best in school history.
Prior to Eastern Michigan, Anderson was a graduate assistant at Michigan, where he worked with current Cleveland Browns offensive line coach Andy Moeller and eventual No. 1 overall pick, Jake Long. As a player at Michigan, the center Anderson was named the team’s top offensive lineman and was an All-Big Ten honorable mention selection in 2001.
One major advantage Anderson has over outside candidates is that he has worked with this new staff, new personnel and new playbook all off-season.
Through organized team activities and minicamp, he was there with rookie Miller, with Cyrus Kouandjio at right tackle and this new offense under Greg Roman.
As Miller said, this offense is a complex mixture of both man-to-man and zone blocking schemes. It could be difficult to break in a new coach on the cusp of training camp.
Right now, Kromer is the Bills’ offensive line coach. First thing’s first for the team: Finding out everything they can about that Saturday night in Walton County, Fla.