The Viewmont High School assistant football coach who police say stomped on a pheasant at a football game Friday released a statement Wednesday saying the stomping was an accident.

R. Dean Layton, who received a cruelty-to-animals citation from American Fork police Tuesday, said in an effort to pin down the running pheasant, he tried to stop it with his foot, lost his balance and accidentally crushed the bird.

"It was not my intent to seriously harm or jeopardize the life of the bird," Layton said in the statement. "Anyone who knows me knows I am a compassionate person with a respect for animals."

He expressed "sincere regret over what took place" and apologized to those affected, particularly Viewmont and American Fork high schools.

Layton stepped on the bird after two American Fork High School students allegedly released the pheasant onto the field during the game. Both students received cruelty to animals and disorderly conduct citations from the police.