Tennessee players charged in robbery

Three University of Tennessee football players were arrested early Thursday for allegedly trying to rob three men outside a Knoxville convenience store.

The incident occurred shortly before 2 a.m. at a convenience store on Cumberland Avenue, Knoxville police spokesman Darrell DeBusk said.

Nu'Keese Richardson, a freshman wide receiver from Pahokee, Fla., and Janzen Jackson, a freshman defensive back from Lake Charles, La., and Michael Edwards, a freshman defensive back from Cleveland, were arrested a short time later. Each was charged with three counts of attempted armed robbery, DeBusk said.

DeBusk said that the victims told police that they were sitting inside their vehicle, parked next to a Toyota Prius, while a friend was inside the Pilot store and were approached by a black male wearing a black hoodie and brandishing a black handgun.

"The victims stated that a black male then exited from the passenger side of the Prius, wearing a black hoodie, walked around to the front passenger door of their car, opened it, and stated, ‘give us everything you've got,' " DeBusk said.

The victims told police that they all showed their wallets to the suspects and showed them that they did not have any money. A third black male then approached and told the other two suspects, "We've got to go," DeBusk said. The suspects then got into the Prius and drove away.

Police spotted the Prius a short time later and stopped the vehicle and arrested the three players.

"In plain view, officers observed two black hoodies on the back seat. Underneath the back seat, officers located a black, CO2-powered pellet gun.

The suspects were taken back to the store, and the victims positively identified Edwards and Richardson as the two who approached their vehicle, DeBusk said.

Tennessee athletics director Mike Hamilton said the school would evaluate the situation before deciding on any disciplinary action.

"At this time we are currently evaluating the circumstances surrounding an incident involving Mike Edwards, Janzen Jackson and Nu'Keese Richardson," Hamilton said. "Any decisions or comments regarding their status will not be made until the evaluations are complete."