On July 26, one week before the arrest, police attempted to stop Finley for not wearing a helmet. The Auburn quarterback fled from police and “committed several other traffic offenses in the process,” according to a police statement. “Officers terminated the pursuit on both occasions as a matter of safety.”
Finley was on a motorcycle, according to Auburn police department’s news release. But in a statement from Finley’s lawyer released to the Montgomery Advertiser on Thursday, the vehicle Finley was driving was described as a scooter, not a motorcycle.
Finley was eventually identified, and police obtained an arrest warrant. Finley turned himself in on Thursday after hearing about the warrant. He was held in custody at the Lee County Detention Center, but by mid-afternoon, he was back at Auburn football’s team facility, where players reported for the start of preseason practices.
Davis Whittelsey, the Lee County attorney representing Finley, described the pending charges as a “misunderstanding.”
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“The charges are in the process of being handled in the Municipal Court within the city of Auburn as all traffic citations are,” Whittelsey said in his statement. “As soon as T.J. learned of the charges, he turned himself in and has been released on a bond he signed for himself. His first day of football camp with Auburn University has been a success.”
Finley has been at Auburn for one year after transferring from LSU before the 2021 season. He enters preseason practice entrenched in a quarterback competition with transfers Zach Calzada and Robby Ashford for the starting job.
“He was here. He’ll be here tonight. He’ll practice tomorrow,” Auburn coach Bryan Harsin said Thursday when asked if the charges affect Finley’s status with the team. “So we are aware of what’s going on.”
After Finley transferred to Auburn, he backed up former quarterback Bo Nix and started the last three games after Nix suffered a season-ending ankle injury.
Auburn lost all three of those games, but Finley also saved Auburn from a loss to Georgia State in September when he replaced a struggling Nix and threw the game-winning touchdown down with 45 seconds remaining.
It was a fourth-and-goal situation with Auburn trailing 24-20 and needing a touchdown. Finley was chased 10 yards back from the line of scrimmage, where he ducked out of a sack, escaped defenders and threw to Shedrick Jackson in the end zone.