Jeryme Cook said he saw the punch coming from his old high school classmate, former Arizona State football star Terrell Suggs.
The next thing Cook remembered was a beaten, bloodied friend helping him from the ground.
"I was gone," Cook said Thursday, describing the knockout punch on the witness stand of Maricopa County Superior Court in Phoenix, where Suggs, now a linebacker with the Baltimore Ravens, is standing trial on two counts of aggravated assault.
Suggs, facing a mandatory minimum of five years in prison if convicted on both charges, says he was the peacemaker March 29, 2003, when a brawl erupted involving at least seven people at a Phoenix basketball tournament.
According to Cook, the fight began with words exchanged between Cook and Rico Suggs, the football player’s cousin, but they went their separate ways.
Terrell Suggs later showed up courtside of a game that Cook and his friends Anthony Henrie and Casey Cothern were watching.
Terrell Suggs held a baseball bat to his shoulder, and was with Rico Suggs and teenage brother Donald Suggs and two other guys, Cook said. After exchanging words with Terrell Suggs, Cook said he and his friends walked away, but the Suggs group kept following them around the tournament grounds and eventually to the parking lot, where Cook said he figured he was going to have to fight Rico Suggs.
Cook said that at one point Terrell Suggs handed his kid brother the baseball bat and said, "If anyone jumps in you swing the bat to kill, not to hurt."
Donald Suggs then stuck the bat close to Cook’s face, Cook said. Cook said he swatted the bat away with his hand, turned to calm Henrie, and then saw Terrell Suggs take a swing that broke his nose and cheekbone.
Terrell Suggs’ defense attorney, Larry Kazan, exposed inconsistencies between Cook’s testimony and original statements to police. Cook told police Donald Suggs brought the bat to the courtside confrontation and that he never saw Terrell Suggs swing at him.
Kazan told jurors in opening statements that the three accusers demanded $2 million to settle the matter just a few days after the fight.
Cook said he hired the lawyer for "protection" and "justice," but he knew nothing about the offer and that his attorney must have made it without his knowledge. Judge Michael Wilkinson said if that is the case, then that is an ethical violation and he is going to turn in Cook’s lawyer to the State Bar of Arizona.
The trial continues Monday.