Cardinals assistant James Saxon put on leave after news of domestic battery charges

Tom Schad
USA TODAY

Arizona Cardinals running backs coach James Saxon has been placed on administrative leave, the team announced Friday, after the news became public that he is facing domestic battery charges in Indiana stemming from an incident there earlier this summer.

Saxon, 56, was visiting a woman in the Indianapolis area on May 7 when they got into an argument at a Costco that escalated upon returning to her home, according to the probable cause affidavit filed in the case. The woman told police that in the course of the argument, which took place with two young children present, Saxon pushed her with his forearm, causing her to fall backwards into a garage door, according to court records obtained by USA TODAY Sports on Friday.

Saxon is facing two charges of domestic battery in connection with the incident: One misdemeanor and one Level 6 felony, which is the lowest level in the state's criminal code. Indiana law calls for a felony charge in cases where the offense occurs within the presence of a child under the age of 16.

Arizona Cardinals running backs coach James Saxon works on the sideline during the first half of an NFL football game against the Jacksonville Jaguars, Sunday, Sept. 26, 2021, in Jacksonville, Fla.

“We are aware of the incident and notified the NFL as required," the Cardinals said in a statement. "The matter is currently under review pursuant to league policies. After consultation with the league office, James has been placed on paid administrative leave. We will have no further comment pending additional proceedings.”

Saxon's attorney, Carman L. Malone, said she will vigorously defend her client but declined to otherwise comment, citing the pending nature of the case. 

ESPN, which first reported on the charges, noted that Saxon had continued to coach for the team at training camp, which opened late last month.

The court has issued a no-contact order that bars Saxon from having any communication with the woman, who is not named in the affidavit. USA TODAY Sports does not identify victims of domestic violence without their permission.

The next hearing in the case is scheduled for Aug. 25, according to court records.

A retired fullback who played parts of eight seasons in the NFL, Saxon has since spent more than two decades as a position coach. Before joining the Cardinals in 2019, he also worked as running backs coach for the Pittsburgh Steelers, Minnesota Vikings, Miami Dolphins, Kansas City Chiefs and Buffalo Bills.

Contact Tom Schad at tschad@usatoday.com or on Twitter @Tom_Schad.