LANSING, Mich. (AP) -- Dimitrius Underwood was adjusting to life as an NFL player and was in good spirits when the Miami Dolphins saw him before the weekend. Emergency personnel who saw him a night later were so concerned by his appearance that they called police.
"He appeared somewhat confused," said Lt. Ray Hall, spokesman for the Lansing Police Department. "He did appear to be talking to himself."
A day later, on Sunday, he was found on a city street bleeding from his neck with a life-threatening knife wound that police determined was self-inflicted.
Between Saturday and Sunday, Underwood was arrested for failure to make child support payments and had refused to leave jail immediately after bail was posted, choosing instead to talk to another prisoner.
The series of events has those closest to the former Michigan State defensive end worried, with his mother fearful that he may be under the influence of a "cult that's posing as a church."
Meanwhile, Underwood was in fair and improving condition at Sparrow Hospital after undergoing surgery Sunday. He was able to talk and get out of bed Tuesday, a hospital spokeswoman said.
Police say the 6-foot-6, 270-pound Underwood slashed his neck with a knife on Sunday during a visit with his twin 17-month-old children and their mother in Lansing.
Underwood first drew national attention after being picked by Minnesota in the first round and then leaving the Vikings in August without explanation a day after signing a five-year, $5.3 million contract.
A reporter later found him in a Philadelphia hotel, where he said he had been torn between his faith in God and his football career.
When Underwood decided to return to football to support his family, the Miami Dolphins picked him up on waivers. He played one preseason game on Sept. 2, then injured his shoulder.
Underwood's mother, Eileen Underwood, told The Miami Herald that she wanted to speak out against a church Underwood began attending while at Michigan State. She did not identify the church, but said she might take action against it.
"There are controlling spirits in there," Underwood, an ordained minister, told the newspaper in Tuesday's editions. "I visited one time and the pastor was talking about if a young man and woman in the church are dating and then they break up, he won't let them date anyone else for six months.
"That's not in the Bible. I know the Bible. That's just someone trying to control people. It's a den of witches sitting up in there."
She could not be reached for more comment.
Underwood had been attending Immanuel's Temple Community Church for about a year, the Lansing State Journal reported.
The Rev. Phillip Owens, the church's pastor, walked away from an Associated Press reporter without comment at the church's office in a downtown Lansing office building Tuesday.
Owens told the State Journal on Tuesday that neither he nor his wife, Patricia, had ever counseled Underwood. He said Underwood attended the church sporadically since he joined about a year ago.
In a story in the State Journal today, Owens dismissed the allegations by Underwood's mother that the church is a cult.
"Any mother would be distraught," he said. "She's grasping at straws. What she may not be facing here is that her son has some problems. The church is not a cult."
He also said he had not had contact with Underwood since he left for Miami and did not know he had returned to Lansing.
The nondenominational Christian church is not affiliated with any national organization, Owens told the newspaper. It holds services in a union hall, but is building a $6.8 million church across the street, without borrowing money, Patricia Owens said.
Dolphins coach Jimmy Johnson said Tuesday that the team was placing Underwood on the reserved-nonfootball injury list.
"This will allow him to focus on his recovery, both medically and physically," Johnson said. "It takes away the thought of playing this year and lets him get back on the right track and go through some counseling and focus on next year as far as playing for the Dolphins."
Stu Weinstein, Dolphins team security investigator, described Underwood as "a little withdrawn" when he first arrived in Miami, but said everything appeared to be fine.
"When I last him Friday, he had a big smile on his face and was totally upbeat. He was going up to visit his twins," he said.
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