The Falcons have parted ways with linebacker Prince Shembo, just hours after he was charged with a felony (aggravated cruelty to animals), the team announced today in a press release. The club’s statement on the situation was short and to the point:
“We are aware of the charges that have been filed against Prince Shembo. We are extremely disappointed that one of our players is involved in something like this. Accordingly, we have decided to waive Prince Shembo.”
As Tony Thomas of WSB-TV reported earlier today (via Instagram), Shembo is accused of killing his ex-girlfriend’s dog. According to Denica Williams, Shembo’s former girlfriend, she left Shembo and her Yorkie unattended at the linebacker’s home, and the dog was unresponsive when she returned (link via Alexis Stevens of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution). Per a necropsy, the cause of death was blunt force trauma, and the animal also had a fractured rib, a fractured liver, and several other injuries.
It’s not the first time that Shembo has run into off-field trouble. The former Notre Dame linebacker was investigated for allegedly sexually assaulting a Saint Mary’s College freshman in 2010, though he was never charged in that case. Lizzy Seeberg, Shembo’s accuser, killed herself 10 days after the alleged incident.
On the field, Shembo had a solid rookie season for the Falcons, recording 50 tackles in 347 defensive snaps. However, it would be a surprise if another team took a flier on the 23-year-old anytime soon, as least until his legal case plays out.