Detroit Lions head coach Matt Patricia speaks at a press conference, concerning his indictment in a 1996 sexual assault case, at the training facility in Allen Park, Michigan on May 10, 2018. Patricia says he was falsely accused. Daniel Mears, The Detroit News


The NFL said Thursday it will review the issue regarding new Lions head coach Matt Patricia being indicted for an alleged 1996 sexual assault.

The Detroit News reported Wednesday night Patricia had been indicted, but not tried, for sexual assault in 1996. Patricia said in a statement Wednesday night he was falsely accused of the allegation, and the Lions also released a statement supporting the head coach.

On Thursday morning, Brian McCarthy, the league’s vice president of communications said in a statement the NFL “will review the matter with the club to understand the allegations and what the club has learned.”

When approached by The Detroit News, team president Rod Wood initially said “I don’t know anything about this” — but hours later said his review of the situation only reinforced the team’s decision to hire Patricia.

“I am very comfortable with the process of interviewing and employing Matt,” Wood said. “I will tell you with 1,000-percent certainty that everything I’ve learned confirmed what I already knew about the man and would have no way changed our decision to make him our head coach.”

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Patricia was a 21-year-old student and offensive lineman at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute at the time of the allegations. He was arrested along with teammate and fraternity brother Greg Dietrich in South Padre Island in March, 1996 after a 21-year-old woman accused the pair of breaking into her hotel room and sexually assaulting her.

The two were released on $20,000 bond. In August that year, a grand jury indicted Patricia and Dietrich each on one account of aggravated sexual assault. The case was eventually dropped in January 1997, when the accuser didn’t return to court and the prosecution requested dismissal.