Former NFL player Davone Bess: 'I was off my meds during Gilbert police standoff'

Posted at 9:53 PM, Jul 06, 2016
and last updated 2016-07-07 10:21:05-04

Former NFL wide receiver Davone Bess said mental health problems were the cause of an hours-long confrontation with Gilbert police last month that ended with a SWAT team storming his Valley home.

Bess told ABC15 that he was off his medications the night of the June 19 incident and has since been diagnosed with bipolar disorder. He said a Valley mental health facility released him prematurely, which contributed to him being in a poor mental state the evening of the incident. 

He said he could not remember what facility that was, when he was admitted or the date of his discharge. He called the episode a blur.

Bess, who played for the Miami Dolphins from 2008 to 2012 and for the Cleveland Browns in 2013, lamented that his diagnosis had not come sooner in his life, noting that he suffered issues dating back to his playing days in Miami. He scored 14 career touchdowns, according to ESPN. 

Bess called it a possibility when asked if his football career, and the body blows that came with it, contributed to his bipolar diagnosis.

He pleaded not guilty Tuesday to a felony charge of unlawful flight from a law enforcement vehicle, according to the Associated Press.

The night in question last month, which Bess calls a misunderstanding, started with Gilbert police stopping Bess for driving his gray Mercedes without the headlights on, court documents said. Bess then formed the shape of a gun with his hand and made motions as if he were firing at officers, according to court documents.

Click here to watch police body camera video of the incident.

Bess then drove away from officers, retreated into his Gilbert home and put a knife to his throat while in view of officers but behind a window in his home, documents said.

Bess disputes that he had a knife, but apologizes to police for the incident.