CLEARWATER - A former University of Florida and NFL football player was arrested Sunday after leaving his 3-year-old daughter in a car by herself while he went into a strip club, according to deputies.
Monty Ray Grow, 41, of Redington Beach, faces a charge of abuse charge, jail records state.
Grow went into Diamond Dolls, at 162361 U.S. 19 N., about 9:15 p.m. and left the girl in the parking lot of the nearby Drive Time used car dealership, at 16211 U.S. 19 N., deputies said.
At the time, Grow was heading back to his estranged wife's home to drop off the girl after a visitation, according to his arrest report.
Grow's wife had been tracking his whereabouts, sometimes by phone, because of his recent odd behavior, the arrest report says. She got to Grow's vehicle before deputies arrived and freed their daughter, who was not hurt, according to the report.
As a deputy pulled up, Grow came running out of the Diamond Dolls, saying he had been gone only a few minutes, though his phone indicated he had been gone for about 20 minutes, his arrest report states. He told deputies he was there to collect money he had lent to an employee at the strip club, according to the report.
Grow was released from the Pinellas County Jail Monday morning after posting $5,000 bail. He could not be reached for comment.
Grow played linebacker for the Gators from 1989 to 1993. He was suspended one season after a failed drug test in 1991 but had a fifth year of eligibility granted after suing the NCAA. He was probably best known for a hit on West Virginia quarterback Darren Studstill in the January 1994 Sugar Bowl.
Grow played defensive back in the NFL for two seasons: in 1994 with the Kansas City Chiefs and 1995 with the Jacksonville Jaguars.