PITTSBURGH (AP) - A man who claims his girlfriend once had a "physical relationship" with retired Pittsburgh Steelers wide receiver Hines Ward was in custody on charges he tried to extort $15,000 from the player by threatening to release evidence the player had paid for sex.

Twenty-six-year-old Joshua Van Auker, of Pittsburgh, was awaiting arraignment Friday on two felony counts of attempted extortion.

Van Auker was arrested Thursday by detectives from the Allegheny County District Attorney's Office after he allegedly met with Ward's personal assistant who paid him the money in exchange for unspecified "materials" that Van Auker said were proof of his claims. Detectives monitoring that exchange then arrested Van Auker.

Online court records don't list an attorney for Van Auker. The Associated Press couldn't immediately reach Ward or his representatives for comment.

Ward now works for NBC Sports.

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