Super Bowl-winning wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr was removed from a plane by police before takeoff at Miami airport amid concerns about his health.
Miami-Dade police say they responded to a medical emergency reported by the American Airlines flight crew.
Beckham Jr, 30, had been ordered to put on his seatbelt before departure and “appeared to go in and out of consciousness”, police added.
The ex-Los Angeles Rams player then departed the flight “without incident”.
The American Airlines flight to Los Angeles had to return to the gate on Sunday and passengers disembarked before Beckham Jr left the plane with police officers.
He was “escorted to the unsecured area of the terminal by officers where he made alternate arrangements,” police said.
Beckham Jr’s lawyer, Daniel Davillier, said the incident was “unnecessary” and blamed it on an “overzealous flight attendant”, adding that “at no time did Mr. Beckham been disruptive or combative”.
“The flight was delayed after boarding and before takeoff,” Davillier wrote in a statement.
“Mr Beckham fell asleep with his blanket over his head, which is his normal practice for long flights.
“He was woken up and told the plane was back at the gate and he had to get off the plane because he hadn’t put his seatbelt on when asked. .”
Davilliar said Beckham Jr, who is currently without a team and hasn’t played since injuring his knee while playing for the Rams in their Super Bowl victory in Februaryagreed to put on his seat belt after being woken up, but was told it was too late.
“The overzealous flight attendant insisted on getting everyone off the plane instead of just allowing Mr. Beckham to fasten his seatbelt and continue the flight,” Davilliar added.
“At no time was Mr. Beckham disruptive or combative. He was willing to comply with the seat belt requirement, but the flight attendant wanted to prove that he had the authority to have Mr. Beckham of flight.”
A statement from American Airlines says a passenger was kicked off a flight to Los Angeles “due to a customer failing to follow instructions from crew members and refusing to strap his seatbelt”.
Miami-Dade police added that after struggling to wake Beckham Jr, the flight crew became concerned for his health.
“Fearing that Mr. Beckham was seriously ill and that his condition would worsen during the planned five-hour flight, attendants called the police and fire brigade,” police said.
Once Beckham Jr departed, the remaining passengers re-boarded and the flight continued to Los Angeles.
Beckham Jr tweeted “hr comedy” with a laughing emoji on Sunday morning, adding Twitter: “Never in my life have I experienced what just happened to me… I saw it all (sic)..”
Beckham Jr has 531 career catches and 56 touchdowns in 96 games with the New York Giants, Cleveland Browns and Rams.
Several teams have expressed interest in his services as he continues his recovery from a torn anterior cruciate ligament, including the Dallas Cowboys and Giants.