Eagles reserve lineman acquitted of rape, kidnapping charges
CAMBRIDGE, Ohio — Josh Sills, a reserve offensive lineman for the NFC champion Philadelphia Eagles, has been acquitted of felony rape and kidnapping charges in Ohio and will be returning to the team's active roster.
Jurors in Guernsey County reached not-guilty verdicts on both counts Friday after deliberating for about three hours. Sills, 25, showed no reaction as the verdicts were read but immediately stood and thanked the panel when the judge offered him an opportunity to address them.
“I’d like to thank my family who have supported me from day one," he said. "I have done nothing wrong, and I'm glad that was proven today.” Defense attorney Michael Connick said the verdict “ends a nearly four-year nightmare for the Sills family, and particularly Josh.”
The Sarahsville, Ohio, native was indicted Jan. 31 by a county grand jury, accused of having engaged in sexual activity that was not consensual and holding a woman against her will Dec. 5, 2019. Ohio Attorney General Dave Yost said in a statement that the accusation was immediately reported and the county sheriff’s office did a detailed investigation.
“I still believe the victim," Yost said in a statement after the verdict. “But in America, criminal convictions require proof beyond a reasonable doubt. The jury did not see it, and I thank them for doing their duty under the law.”
Sills, a 6-foot-6, 325-pound player at West Virginia and Oklahoma State, was an undrafted free agent who appeared in one game this season. He was placed on the NFL commissioner’s exempt list after he was indicted, meaning he couldn’t practice, play or travel with the Eagles as they prepared for their Super Bowl matchup with the Kansas City Chiefs.
The Eagles said in a statement that following the verdict, Sills was removed from the exempt list “and he will return to the team’s active roster.”