CALGARY - A one-time CFL all-star testified Friday his former girlfriend was in a jealous rage during a confrontation that led to assault charges against him.
Testifying in his own defence, Joffrey Reynolds said Kaitlin Ward was angry over his cheating. He said it began when the two were at a private party held by Calgary Stampeders receiver Nik Lewis and continued after Ward had left the bar on the morning last July 12.
Ward has testified that Reynolds broke into her condo and tried to choke and strangle her when she told him to leave.
But Reynolds, 33, who was a running back with the Stampeders, said he had moved back in with Ward. He said she started punching him and screaming when she found him there after coming home from a party.
He testified he had a lot to drink and was asleep as soon as he got to Ward's place.
"I passed out immediately," said Reynolds. "I feel someone hitting me. She was hitting me to wake me up."
Reynolds said Ward did demand that he leave, but relented and told him to sleep on the couch because he had nowhere else to go. But he said she was getting angrier and louder.
"She's agitated. She says I'm a cheater and a liar and she's yelling by now. I had my back turned to her and she hits me in the back and the head," Reynolds told the court.
He said Ward, who is six-foot-five, is a strong woman and he wanted to subdue her to calm her down. Reynolds is five-foot-10.
"She's a tall, athletic woman. I'm kind of on edge. I kind of get her in a bear hug. She's yelling to the point that she's mad and crying."
"I did a kind of manoeuvre where I got a knee in her back and rode her to the ground. I restrained her. I'm trying to calm her down."
Reynolds, who is charged with assault causing bodily harm, common assault and breaking and entering with intent, said he never hurt Ward and just wanted to cool things down so they could discuss their issues in the morning.
"When I did put my hand over her mouth it was after she had hit me," he said. "I wanted her to stop yelling."
Reynolds was denied access to the condo twice that night by a concierge. A police witness has already testified that the player's Cadillac Escalade, with footprints on the hood, was found parked illegally next to a six-metre retaining wall near the condo.
Reynolds testified he didn't think making his way into the home was a big deal. The two had been dating for six years and lived together for four years before the relationship ended in December 2011.
"It's kind of how we dealt with our relationship in the past. It was one of those games when we were mad or drunk," he said.
"We made the situation harder than it had to be."
Ward, 27, testified Thursday that the two were trying to find out if they could salvage their relationship and she allowed him to stay for just a couple of nights after his house was foreclosed on. She said he tackled her when she told him to leave and then assaulted her.
"He's smothering my mouth and choking me. Shoving his chin into my neck," she said. "I was gasping for air at that point."
Reynolds pulled her to her feet by her hair and then knocked her to the floor again, Ward testified.
"He kind of jumped from behind and put his knee into my back and started choking me again."
Prosecutor Hyatt Mograbee challenged Reynolds's account of the evening.
"You were in the bed. You were awake and you confronted her and then you tackled her didn't you?" Mograbee asked.
"That would be incorrect," replied Reynolds.
"You assaulted her. Do you agree or disagree?" Mograbee said.
"Very much disagree," said Reynolds.
The prosecutor suggested Reynolds was still in playing shape when the fight occurred and could easily overpower Ward.
"You're used to having 300-pound men coming after you and you're having trouble restraining this woman?" she asked.
"You're used to being hit. Why didn't you leave?"
Reynolds, who is also charged with kicking Ward in the back of her leg while they were at the bar earlier in the night, said he accidentally stepped on her heel.
The case was adjourned until Feb. 20 after Mograbee expressed concern to Judge Brian Stevenson that Ward was not cross-examined by the defence on Reynolds's version of what happened. Stevenson requested a transcript of the trial and will determine if Ward should be recalled to the witness stand.
Reynolds is from Texas and played college football at the University of Houston.
He played eight years for the Stampeders and was the franchise's all-time leading rusher with 9,213 yards.
He was named a CFL all-star four times and won a Grey Cup championship with the Stampeders in 2008 before his release in 2012.
Also on HuffPost:
WR Charles Rogers, Detriot Lions
Rogers was the second overall pick in the 2003 draft. After scoring three touchdowns in his first five games, the former Michigan State receiver broke his collar bone and was injured for the rest of the season. He hurt his collar bone again in the first game of the following season. Rogers was later suspended for violating the league's substance abuse policy and was charged with assault and battery in 2008.
QB JaMarcus Russell, Oakland Raiders
Russell was the first pick in the 2007 draft and has never looked like a No. 1 selection. After two years, Russell was benched for Bruce Gradkowski. That should be enough to declare him as a huge draft bust. But just in case, the former LSU Tiger recorded a 48.8% completion percentage, a 50.0 quarterback rating, 11 interceptions and just three touchdown passes in 2009.
QB Joey Harrington, Detroit Lions
The Lions chose Harrington with the third overall pick in the 2002 draft, hoping that he would be a franchise quarterback. Well, they didn't get what they were looking for. The former Oregon Duck never got comfortable in Detroit, leading the Lions to a 3-13 record in 2002. Even in his best year (2004, when he threw for over 3,000 yards), Detroit finished 6-10. Harrington landed on the Miami Dolphins in 2006 and then the Atlanta Falcons in 2007. He is now a backup for the New Orleans Saints.
QB Alex Smith, San Francisco 49ers
Alex Smith was picked first overall in the 2005 draft. He was chosen before Aaron Rodgers, DeMarcus Ware and Shawne Merriman. He threw one touchdown pass and 11 interceptions in his rookie year. The 49ers lost him for the 2007 season after a shoulder injury. Luckily for Smith, San Francisco hasn't given up on him yet, but eventual abandonment may be inevitable.
OT Mike Williams, Buffalo Bills
Williams was the fourth overall pick in the 2002 draft out of the University of Texas. He never made an immediate impact, suffered multiple injuries and was cut from Buffalo after the 2005 season. He weighed 400 pounds when he was picked up by the Washington Redskins in 2009. This bust was drafted before Brian Westbrook, Albert Haynesworth and Ed Reed.
QB David Carr, Houston Texans
David Carr was selected out of Fresno State as the first overall pick in the 2002 draft. Defenses beat him down for the next five years in Houston. In a brutal rookie campaign, Carr was sacked 76 times, an NFL record. He never led the Texans to more than sevens wins in a season (just once in 2004) and was released after the 2006 season. He is now a backup for the New York Giants.
WR David Terrell, Chicago Bears
The Bears drafted Terrell as the eighth overall pick in the 2001 draft. He was the first wide receiver chosen as well. In fact, Terrell was picked before Reggie Wayne, Steve Smith and Santana Moss. Terrell, drafted out of Michigan, scored four touchdowns in his rookie year, but never recorded more than that in a single season ever again.
DE Courtney Brown, Cleveland Browns
Cleveland selected Courtney Brown as the first overall pick in the 2000 draft, but the defensive end never lived up to expectations. Although he recorded 4.5 sacks and 70 tackles in his rookie season, he had problems staying healthy throughout the rest of his career. After becoming the 11th defensive end to be the No. 1 overall pick in draft history, Brown tore his ACL in 2006 as a member of the Denver Broncos and retired in 2007.
DT Dewayne Robertson, New York Jets
In 2003, the Jets selected Robertson with the fourth overall pick in the draft. This pick wound up being a bust because New York traded two first-round selections for him. He skipped his senior season at Kentucky to enter the draft. Robertson played in every game during his rookie year, but only recorded 1.5 sacks. After it was clear he would never be the productive defensive tackle the Jets were hoping for, they traded him in 2008 to the Broncos for a conditional '09 draft pick.
WR Reggie Williams, Jacksonville Jaguars
Reggie Williams was selected ninth overall by the Jaguars in the 2004 draft. Besides his only good season in 2007 in which he scored 10 touchdowns, Williams only scored eight total touchdowns in his four other years with Jacksonville. He has also ran into plenty of trouble off of the field. Since 2006, Williams has been arrested for marijuana possession, a DWI, and felony drug charges.
DT Ryan Sims, Kansas City Chiefs
The Chiefs picked Sims as the sixth overall pick in the 2002 draft, even though Albert Haynesworth was still available. In five season with Kansas City, Sims only recorded five sacks. He has just 3.5 sacks in three years with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
WR Mike Williams, Detroit Lions
You know a wide receiver is a bust when he was a top 10 pick, but his most productive season was his rookie year when he recorded just 29 receptions, 350 yards and only one touchdown. In 2005, Detroit drafted Williams out of USC with the 10th overall pick. He was traded to Tennessee in 2007, but never caught a pass. He was later traded to Oakland mid-way through the 2007 season and only caught seven passes.
WR Peter Warrick, Cincinnati Bengals
The Bengals selected Warrick as the fourth overall pick in the 2000 draft. Warrick, a former Florida State Seminole, scored seven touchdowns in 2003, but was replaced by T.J Houshmandzadeh and released after the 2005 season. After playing in New England and Seattle, Warrick made his way to the Arena Football League, Canadian Football League and the United Football League.
OT Robert Gallery, Oakland Raiders
Robert Gallery was the second overall pick in the 2004 draft out of Iowa. <a href="http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/vault/article/magazine/MAG1031881/index.htm" target="_hplink">Peter King of Sports Illustrated</a> called him "the best lineman to come out of college in years." He happened to be awful at the tackle position, so he moved to offensive guard. Gallery has been in the league for seven years and hasn't been anything close to productive.