Vols’ Middleton faces domestic assault charge

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Tennessee defensive lineman Darel Middleton was arrested Saturday morning and faces charges of domestic assault and public intoxication stemming from an incident that involved his girlfriend.

According to a police report, Middleton’s girlfriend was trying to break up a physical altercation between Middleton and a male friend of hers near UT’s campus when Middleton allegedly pushed her to the ground. The report said Middleton helped his girlfriend up, hugged her and apologized to her, but later shoved her again.

Police said Middleton was unsteady on his feet with slurred speech and an odor of alcohol and took him into custody without incident just before 3 a.m. on Saturday.

Tennessee spokesperson Bill Martin said athletic department officials were aware of the incident and gathering information.

The 6-7, 311-pound Middleton started six of the 13 games in which he appeared last season — his first season with the Vols after transferring from East Mississippi Community College.