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Tony Fein ( 1982 - )  Category ( Athletes ) [suggest a correction]

Tony Fein's athletic career had already been a long, strange trip. On Aug. 24, 2009, it took another odd turn.

Fein, a free agent rookie linebacker with the Baltimore Ravens, was sitting in a restaurant at Harborplace in Baltimore when he was confronted by Joseph Donato, a Baltimore police officer. Apparently, Fein's hooded sweatshirt (which a police report called "weather inappropriate") and an erroneous report that he was carrying a weapon (it turned out to be a cell phone) aroused Donato's suspicions. The police were also on high alert because of an earlier shooting in that area.

What happened after that will be a matter for the courts to decide, but the 6-1, 245-pound Fein shoved Donato as he got up from his stool, knocking the officer to the floor and injuring his right elbow. Donato then wrestled Fein down and arrested him. Fein was released about 1 a.m. Monday and slept at a downtown hotel with the rest of the team. Even though the Ravens were playing a home game with the New York Jets on Monday night, the hotel stay before games is a team tradition.

"Like all citizens, Tony will get his due process and have his opportunity to explain," said Kevin Byrne, a Ravens' vice president. "There are two sides to every story."

Even before that, Fein was probably on the bubble as far as staying with the team. Undrafted out of the University of Mississippi, Fein was rated as strong against the run but weak in pass defense (due, perhaps, to his sub-par 4.8 speed). No one, however, could question Fein's toughness - he spent three years in the Army out of high school, including a year-long tour in Iraq that Fein said helped him put football in perspective. "At least I know I'm going to be alive today, and tomorrow," he once told the Baltimore Sun. That military experience, which earned him the Rusty Tillman Award from the Military Order of the Purple Heart (Tillman, a former Arizona Cardinal, died in Afghanistan), gave Fein a higher profile than most of the Ravens' free agent.

Fein performed adequately as the starting quarterback for South Kitsap High School near Seattle as a senior, but not well enough to earn a college scholarship. The military seemed a viable alternative. But Fein grew - both in confidence and size - while wearing that uniform, and enrolled at Scottsdale Community College in Arizona following his discharge. After earning junior college all-American honors, he transferred to Ole Miss, where he notched 82 tackles as a junior. His senior stats fell off, however, to 52 tackles - largely because of reduced playing time. Of his Harborplace arrest, Fein told reporters: "I'm 110 percent innocent."

According to the Sun, he had no other blemishes on his record.

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