7 Major Arrests in NFL History
LANHAM, Md. (CBSDC/AP) — New England tight end Aaron Hernandez was charged with murder and weapons counts last week in the slaying of a Massachusetts man.
Soon after he was arrested, Hernandez was cut by the team. The NFL put out a statement after the Patriots released Hernandez but took no action.
This is a look at some other notable criminal cases involving NFL or former NFL players, along with the league’s actions if they were active.
— MICHAEL VICK: Suspended indefinitely without pay by Commissioner Roger Goodell in 2007 when Vick pleaded guilty to dogfighting conspiracy. The Atlanta Falcons quarterback was sentenced to 23 months in federal prison. A week after being released from federal custody on July 20, 2009, and having been released by the Falcons, he was conditionally reinstated by Goodell. Less than three weeks later, he signed with the Philadelphia Eagles, and played his first regular-season game in nearly three years on Sept. 27 of that year.
— ADAM “PACMAN” JONES: The cornerback was suspended by Goodell for the 2007 season under the league’s personal conduct policy after multiple arrests while playing for the Tennessee Titans. Now with the Cincinnati Bengals, he has been in and out of legal trouble, with at least seven arrests over the years and involvement in about a dozen incidents that included police intervention. He recently pleaded not guilty to an assault charge after police say he hit a woman at a nightclub. If he is found guilty or accepts a plea bargain, he would be subject to another NFL suspension.
— RYAN LEAF: After four unproductive and injury-plagued seasons in the NFL from 1998-2001, the quarterback was out of the league and ran into legal problems involving drugs. Last year, he pleaded guilty to burglary and drug possession and given a five-year jail term. In January, he was moved from a drug treatment center to state prison in Montana for threatening a staff member and violating his treatment plan.
— RAY LEWIS: The Ravens’ star linebacker and two companions were indicted in 2000 on murder and aggravated assault charges following the stabbing deaths of two people after a Super Bowl party in Atlanta. The linebacker’s lawyers negotiated a plea bargain in which the murder charge was dropped in exchange for his testimony against the two others charged in the case. Lewis was sentenced to one year of probation. His two companions were acquitted in June 2000. Lewis was fined $250,000 by the NFL. The next season, he was voted Super Bowl MVP when the Ravens beat the Giants in the league’s championship game.
— RAE CARRUTH: A wide receiver for the Carolina Panthers from 1997-1999, was accused in the 1999 shooting death of his pregnant girlfriend. Two men pleaded guilty to second-degree murder in exchange for their testimony that Carruth paid one of them $6,000 to kill Cherica Adams while she sat in her car, with Carruth blocking its path using his vehicle. Carruth was acquitted of first-degree murder but was convicted of conspiracy to commit murder, discharging a firearm into occupied property and using an instrument with intent to destroy an unborn child. The baby survived. Carruth is serving an 18- to 24-year prison sentence.
— ART SCHLICHTER: The Colts’ quarterback was suspended indefinitely in 1983 by NFL Commissioner Pete Rozelle for gambling on NFL games a year earlier. The quarterback was reinstated for the ’84 season, but later admitted gambling while under suspension. He was released five games into the ’85 season. In 1987, he pleaded guilty to illegal gambling and Rozelle did not reinstate him after Schlichter applied for permission to re-sign. Last year, he was sentenced to 10 years, seven months in prison for his involvement in a million-dollar ticket scam.
— O.J. SIMPSON: One of the NFL’s top running backs in 1970s with the Buffalo Bills, Simpson was acquitted of the 1994 murder of his ex-wife, Nicole Brown Simpson, and Ronald Goldman, after one of the most publicized criminal trials in history. In 1997, a civil court awarded a judgment against him for their wrongful deaths, but little of the $33.5 million penalty has been paid. In 2008, Simpson was found guilty of armed robbery and kidnapping, and must serve the first nine years of a 33-year sentence without a chance of parole.
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