Ex-Gopher Nelson will plead guilty to a misdemeanor in the Kolstad assault case


Former Minnesota Gophers quarterback Philip Nelson has agreed to a plea deal in the assault case that left Isaac Kolstad with a traumatic brain injury, his lawyer said in a statement Tuesday.

Nelson was charged with first- and third-degree assault following the May 11, 2014, fight outside a bar in downtown Mankato.

Nelson has agreed to plead guilty to fifth-degree assault, a misdemeanor, which would drop the felony charges against him, his lawyer said. With the lesser charge, Nelson could face to 90 days in jail and a $1,000 fine, the Star Tribune notes.

A sentencing date hasn't been set.

The former quarterback can be seen on surveillance video apparently kicking Kolstad in the head. Nelson's attorney had argued prosecutors couldn't justify a first-degree assault charge because doctors say Nelson's kick didn't cause Kolstad's injuries.

Nelson released a statement Tuesday, saying he doesn't remember the night of the fight after he was hit in the head (his lawyer says he suffered a concussion, which he's being treated for). Nelson apologized to those involved and wished Kolstad the best in his recovery.

Trevor Shelley has also been charged with assault in this case.

WCCO did an exclusive interview with Nelson Monday night, who called the situation a "nightmare" and said he's looking forward to hopefully playing college football again. He was dismissed from the Rutgers football program following the assault charges.

Kolstad, a former football player for Minnesota State University, Mankato, continues to make encouraging strides in his recovery. According to a post on his CaringBridge page earlier this month, he has become more independent and is now able to do more than one task simultaneously – like showering while standing on his own.

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