Keyshawn Johnson said he threatened the man he believed was interfering with his attempts to reconcile with his ex-wife.
Johnson apologized for leaving taped phone messages of his intentions to hurt John Mahannah, the one-time boyfriend of his former wife, Shikiri Hightower-Johnson.
In a statement released to the St. Petersburg Times on Friday, Johnson's attorney, John Burris, said the Bucs receiver regretted his actions that led to a restraining order and civil suit filed against him by Mahannah.
"First, Keyshawn apologizes for the content of the statements," Burris said. "Secondly, Keyshawn says that those statements were made in response to his perception that Mahannah was, continues, to interfere with his efforts to reconcile with his ex-wife Shikiri who owns a house in Pleasanton, Calif. She is the mother of his two children and Keyshawn has a loving relationship with the children. Keyshawn sincerely regrets the language used on the tape and hopes that his family, friends and community consider the circumstances under which the statements were made."
Mahannah, 31, filed a civil lawsuit Wednesday against Johnson claiming he suffered mental anguish and is seeking general, punitive and special damages in relation to physical and verbal threats against his life since early December.
No criminal charges have been filed, but the restraining order forbids Johnson from coming within 100 yards of his children's home in Pleasanton or Mahannah.
In a series of tapes provided by the plaintiff to the Oakland Police Department, an irate Johnson repeatedly threatened Mahannah, saying, "I'm going to break your (expletive) neck."
On Dec. 6, Johnson left a message saying, "I told you. My brother told you. We told you. We told you to back the (expletive) off. You are hardheaded. I'm going to break your neck.
"I ain't got nothing but free time on my hands (expletive), and I'm going to come and hunt you. I'm going to hunt you down."
Mahannah, an aspiring musician, dated Johnson's ex-wife for about five months after the couple divorced.
According to the restraining order filed Jan. 14 in Alameda County Superior Court, Mahannah claimed Johnson confronted him Jan. 9 at a funeral for a friend of his ex-wife's who was killed in a car accident and said, "I'm going to catch you on the street and I will beat you to a pulp." Johnson was restrained by several people, Mahannah said.
Phone calls to Mahannah's attorney, Lisa Alex-Holland, were not returned.
Burris said Hightower-Johnson repeatedly told Mahannah to stop interfering in her relationship with her ex-husband, who since being deactivated from the Bucs has spent considerable time with his children, Maia, 8, and Keyshawn Jr., 5, in her home.
"She never told Mahannah that she wanted Keyshawn to stay away from her home," Burris said. "In fact, since his release from the Tampa Bay Bucs, Keyshawn spends a considerable amount of time with Shikiri and the kids at the home in California.
"She was not consulted by Mahannah or his lawyer about the restraining order. Shikiri says that Keyshawn has always had unlimited access to her house. Shikiri says that Keyshawn loves his children and this effort to bar him from the house is an insult to (her) and his children."
Burris said that according to Hightower-Johnson, her relationship with Mahannah ended months ago and she is committed to reconciling with Johnson.
"Shikiri says that the relationship with Mahannah is over and that she has repeatedly told him not to contact her again," Burris said. "She says that she is very sorry that Keyshawn is being publicly embarrassed and humiliated in this manner. Shikiri says that she and Keyshawn are making a considerable effort to reconcile."
Mahannah's civil suit was filed on the same day Johnson was robbed at gunpoint leaving a Berkeley, Calif., barbershop with his children. He handed over $1,000 in cash and a watch, but no one was hurt. The incidents are unrelated.
Johnson suffered through his worst season as a professional football player, embarrassed by being deactivated for the final six games of the season after coach Jon Gruden called him a distraction. He is expected to be released by the team soon.
A return hearing on whether the restraining order should become permanent is scheduled for Feb. 6 in Oakland.
"Keyshawn is disappointed that his private and personal issues related to his family have been disclosed to the public, undoubtedly in an effort to embarrass and humiliate him," Burris said. "Keyshawn believes that the release of the tapes also design to further Mahannah's interest in getting money from him."