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Trial for 3 men accused of stabbing Steelers lineman to begin Tuesday

| Monday, April 21, 2014, 2:11 p.m.
Chaz Palla | Tribune-Review
Steelers offensive tackle Mike Adams blocks for quarterback Ben Roethlisberger against the Ravens on Thursday, Nov. 28, 2013, in Baltimore.

Certain details of Pittsburgh Steeler Mike Adams' contract will be admitted into evidence this week in the trial of three men accused of stabbing the offensive lineman, a judge ruled Monday, but it remains uncertain whether Steelers general manager Kevin Colbert will be required to testify.

Allegheny County Common Pleas Judge Anthony M. Mariani reviewed Adams' contract and personnel file in private on Monday. He said the former Ohio State University standout had no disciplinary problems since the Steelers drafted him 2012.

Michael Paranay, 26, Dquay Means, 26, and Jerrell Whitlock, 27, all of Hazelwood, are charged with counts ranging from conspiracy to attempted homicide in the stabbing of Adams in the South Side on June 1. Their trial is expected to begin on Tuesday.

Lawyers for the three men claim Adams lied about the incident — telling police the men tried to carjack him — because he was already on thin ice with the team after testing positive for marijuana at the NFL Scouting Combine before the 2012 draft. The lawyers said Adams had a blood alcohol content of 0.18 percent, more than twice the legal limit, when he parked his truck near the men, got out of his truck and started a fight.

“It shows an individual who was on shaky ground and stood to lose millions,” said Fred Rabner, Means' lawyer. “That motivation to lie is enormous.”

Neither Adams nor his agent, Eric Metz, could be reached for comment. Adams is entering the third year of a four-year, $3.5 million contract.

Adams required surgery because of the stabbing and remained hospitalized for four days. He didn't miss any playing time.

Rabner, along with Whitlock's attorney, William Difenderfer, and Paranay's attorney, Randall McKinney, said they subpoenaed Colbert to question him about Adams' background and how — if their version of events is true — it would affect his position on the team.

Assistant District Attorney Christopher M. Stone and Colbert's lawyer, Brian H. Simmons, objected. Colbert would not add new evidence, and his appearance was unnecessary, they said. A Steelers spokesman could not be reached.

Mariani deferred ruling on whether Colbert will be required to testify, saying it will depend on what Adams tells the jury during cross-examination.

Mariani ruled that attorneys may tell the jury that the 6-foot-7, 325-pound Adams plays for the Steelers, but he cautioned both sides about using it to prejudice the jury.

“This is a case where a man was stabbed in the South Side, period,” Mariani said. “But this is Pittsburgh and Pittsburgh Steelers fans are notorious in the country. Steelers culture in this community is huge.”

Adam Brandolph is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. Reach him at 412-391-0927 or abrandolph@tribweb.com.

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