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Originally published Friday, October 31, 2014 at 9:33 PM

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Niners’ Ray McDonald may avoid being charged

Santa Clara County prosecutors are leaning against charging San Francisco 49er Ray McDonald with domestic violence in connection with his widely publicized arrest on suspicion of roughing up his pregnant fiancée, sources familiar with the case said.


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Santa Clara County prosecutors are leaning against charging San Francisco 49er Ray McDonald with domestic violence in connection with his widely publicized arrest on suspicion of roughing up his pregnant fiancée, sources familiar with the case said.

The Santa Clara County District Attorney’s Office is likely to announce the decision soon and issue a report laying out the reasons, the sources told the San Jose Mercury News, as it has in other incidents involving the 49ers that weren’t related to domestic violence, including not charging 49er Ahmad Brooks with assault after an alleged scuffle with a teammate. However, the office did prosecute Aldon Smith for drunken driving and possession of illegal assault rifles.

The District Attorney’s Office would not comment on the likely outcome of the McDonald case. Prosecutors have twice canceled a tentative arraignment hearing for McDonald, a good sign for the player, some legal experts said.

McDonald’s supporters have long insisted that the defensive end is a gentle giant who was merely putting up mild resistance Aug. 31 to ward off a physical attack by his fiancée. In late May, the woman grabbed a gun during an argument the couple had and left the house when McDonald threatened to call police. Officers responded to the call, but no arrests were made.

In both instances, the woman could have been defending herself. Police initially said his pregnant fiancée showed “visible injuries” that some sources described as red marks or bruises.

But legal experts have said the May incident also forced prosecutors to examine the woman’s history of aggression, if any. She has retained her own lawyer in the matter.

Notes

• Carolina Panthers coach Ron Rivera said that if defensive end Greg Hardy’s jury trial on domestic-violence charges is delayed until after the NFL season, Hardy should be allowed to return to the team. Hardy’s case remains on the Nov. 17 schedule but a source has told The Charlotte Observer the trial will be delayed.

Patrick Willis will be a game-time decision Sunday when the San Francisco 49ers host the St. Louis Rams. The playmaking linebacker missed the 49ers’ loss in Denver two weeks ago with a big toe injury.

• Dallas quarterback Tony Romo is listed as questionable for Sunday’s game against Arizona after missing practice all week with a back injury. Brandon Weeden, who replaced Romo and led two scoring drives against Washington, will make his first start since last Dec. 1 for Cleveland if Romo doesn’t play.

• The Oakland Raiders are expected to be without cornerback Carlos Rogers for Sunday’s game against the Seahawks. Rogers has started 55 consecutive regular-season games but has been bothered by a sore knee.

• San Diego Chargers running back Ryan Mathews returned to practice for the first time since spraining his right knee on Sept. 14 but will not play in Sunday’s game at Miami.

• Top overall pick Jadeveon Clowney is unlikely to play for the Houston Texans when they host the Philadelphia Eagles on Sunday because of an unspecified illness.

• Kansas City Chiefs safety Eric Berry is expected to play for the first time since spraining his ankle in a Week 2 loss to Denver when Kansas City plays the Jets on Sunday.



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