Two days after Aaron Kromer was arrested on a misdemeanor battery charge in Florida, the Buffalo Bills have placed the offensive line coach on paid administrative leave.
Kromer is accused of punching a juvenile and threatening to kill his family.
“Over the last few days our organization has continued to gather information in regards to the alleged incident involving offensive line coach Aaron Kromer,” team president Russ Brandon said in a statement.
“We have been in regular discussions with the league office and have decided to place Aaron on indefinite paid administrative leave in accordance with the league’s Personal Conduct Policy while we continue to work our way through the investigative process with the league.”
An arrest report released by the Walton County (Fla.) Sheriff’s Office indicates that Kromer, 48, and his son approached three boys – whose ages have not been disclosed – over the use of beach chairs outside a residence at Inlet Beach. From there, Kromer allegedly threw their fishing pole into the water, pushed one boy to the ground, punched him and threatened to kill his family if he told police.
Kromer was arrested at 1:39 a.m. Sunday morning and released from custody at 3:10 a.m. on a $1,000 bond.
There’s physical evidence to support the arrest report, too. Corey Dobridnia, the Walton County Sheriff’s public affairs coordinator, said in a press conference that the alleged victim had “some swelling and some bruising” to the left side of his face when deputies responded. She added that the ages of the victims would not be publicized until the case went to court and it becomes “public knowledge.”
Deputies were told that Kromer and the boys have been “friendly” in the past with Kromer allowing them to use his beach chairs. Now, his job is in jeopardy.
Dobridnia added that investigators were not able to tell if alcohol was a factor.
In addition to this, police are also pursuing a simple battery charge against Zachary Kromer, the coach’s 21-year-old son, according to the Walton County Sheriff’s Office after he allegedly put his hands on a different boy that the Kromers approached. This victim, like the other involved, is also a minor. The battery charge is pending in the Florida state attorney’s office.
The state attorney will determine the first court appearance, per Dobridnia. A date has not been set yet. Kromer may request a speedy trial.
Dobridnia added that Kromer has requested a lawyer and hadn’t made a statement to police yet.
Now, the Bills will continue their investigation and decide whether or not to cut ties with Kromer completely. Training camp begins in two weeks and the team does have an assistant offensive line coach, Kurt Anderson, on staff. Kromer will surely give Brandon and the Bills brass his own account of what happened that night and then the team will need to make a judgment call.
Before joining head coach Rex Ryan’s staff this off-season, Kromer spent the last two seasons as the Chicago Bears’ offensive coordinator. He has also been an assistant coach for the New Orleans Saints (2008-12), Tampa Bay Buccaneers (2005-07) and Oakland Raiders (2001-04).