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Former NFL player Darren Hambrick arrested on rape charge in Dade City

DADE CITY — The badly beaten woman told authorities that her longtime boyfriend had held her down and raped her. When she tried to run away, he chased her down and carried her back into the house.

He held her against her will for more than 11 hours, repeatedly throwing her down the bed so she couldn't escape, authorities said. Eventually, the bed frame snapped in half.

At 6-foot-3 and 250 pounds, the hulking 33-year-old man accused of terrorizing the woman was well known to Pasco deputies. And to a number of local football fans.

Ex-NFL linebacker and former Pasco High School star Darren DeWayne Grant, better known as Darren Hambrick, was arrested early Sunday at the home he shares with the woman in the 36000 block of Pine Bluff Loop in Dade City.

Hambrick faces charges of domestic battery, sexual battery, false imprisonment and tampering with a witness. He was booked into the Pasco County Jail in Land O'Lakes and remained in custody Sunday afternoon in lieu of $106,000 bail.

Legal troubles are nothing new for Hambrick. Since his football career ended in 2002, Hambrick has become known more for his behavior off the field rather than on it.

Last year, Hambrick was twice arrested on charges of abusing his longtime girlfriend. Charges were dropped in the first incident in February after the woman changed her story.

But Hambrick was later sentenced to 18 months of probation from battery charges stemming from an arrest in April. He was accused of assaulting the woman and preventing children in the house from calling 911.

Hambrick was also charged with battery in 2005 and 2006, and served probation for cashing an NFL check he reported stolen. He also became embroiled as a witness in the Alfredie Steele Jr. case. Steele is serving a life sentence for the 2003 slaying of Pasco sheriff's Lt. Charles "Bo" Harrison.

It wasn't always this way.

Brothers Darren and Troy Hambrick won a state championship with the Pasco High School football team in 1992, then went on to play in college and the NFL. But within a few years, both were out of the league mostly because of a number of off-the-field struggles.

Last year, Troy Hambrick, 32, was sentenced to five years in federal prison for selling crack cocaine. He is now in the U.S. Penitentiary in Atlanta.

Now it is Darren Hambrick who is behind bars.

According to the arrest report, the woman, who isn't being identified as a possible victim of sexual assault, said she and Hambrick got into a heated argument late Friday. At some point during the nearly 12-hour dispute, the woman said, Hambrick threw her down and raped her.

The woman told deputies Hambrick choked her and covered her face with a pillow when she screamed and repeatedly told him "no" and "stop." Hambrick also punched and slapped her in the head at least 15 times, according to the report.

When the woman tried to call 911, he took away both her cell and home phones away, the arrest report said. She said she also tried to run away but Hambrick tracked her down, picked her up and carried her back into the home.

According to the Sheriff's Office, the woman had a number of injuries and required medical treatment.

During interviews with neighbors, a witness told deputies that they heard the woman screaming for help and saying, "Darren, stop!" about 4 a.m. Saturday.

No one answered the phone at the couple's home Sunday afternoon and a message left on Hambrick's cell phone wasn't immediately returned.

Joel Anderson can be reached at or (352) 754-6120.

Former NFL player Darren Hambrick arrested on rape charge in Dade City 07/19/09 [Last modified: Monday, July 20, 2009 1:40pm]
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