The 12 Craziest NFL Drug & Alcohol Arrests in the Last Year | The Fix
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The 12 Craziest NFL Drug & Alcohol Arrests in the Last Year

Since March 2013, NFL players have been arrested a staggering 48 times. Over 27 of these arrests have been related to drugs and alcohol. (There's a handy database to keep track.) From bar fights to team smoking sessions, check out the 12 biggest drug fumbles among NFL players in the last 12 months. 

  • Erin Henderson, (Minnesota Vikings, Nov. 19, 2013 and Jan. 1, 2014)

    The troubled linebacker was arrested on suspicion for drunk driving twice in six weeks, first on Nov. 19 of last year and then for a second time on New Year’s Day. The January arrest took place in Chanassen, Minn., after he slammed his car into trees in a parking slot. He was given four charges including DWI, possession of marijuana and a second-degree charge for refusing a sobriety test at the scene, before being released on $12,000 bail. Henderson’s arrest in November resulted in charges of drunk driving and possession of a controlled substance.

    Just days before his second arrest, Henderson told reporters he had matured as a person after the November incident. "I think I grew leaps and bounds as a player and a person as well," he said. "You start to learn a lot about yourself when things can go wrong or bad, if you're willing to try to learn, if you're willing to look in the mirror and figure things out. And I think I was able to do that." Last month, the Vikings finally had enough and released Henderson from his contract.

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  • Henry Melton (Chicago Bears, Dec. 22, 2013)

    The defensive tackle was booked for assault and public intoxication after allegedly punching a bartender and biting the owner of a restaurant in Grapevine, Texas. Surveillance video from the restaurant shows a punch being thrown after the bartender instructed a patron to leave. Donald Payne, the owner of Chill Sports Bar & Grill, claims that Melton bit him in the ensuing ruckus. He has now filed a lawsuit against the NFL star for a sum “greater than $1 million.”

    The lawsuit alleges Melton was belligerent and told workers he "was a millionaire and the bartenders were nothing but poor white trash." After being asked to leave, Payne’s attorney said that “it took four men to [restrain Melton] because he's a big guy. And in the process, my client...received a really, really horrific bite from Mr. Melton. He bit him in the side near the kidney through the skin." Payne will also seek emotional distress damages because “there's some psychological injury there. The thought of another human being you don't know biting through your skin, piercing your skin: It's a pretty frightening experience, and it's dangerous."

    Meanwhile, Melton’s attorney said that the football player is planning to file a separate lawsuit against the bar and will seek compensation for “damages Henry has suffered at the hands of multiple men who attacked him."

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  • John Boyett (Indianapolis Colts, Sept. 2, 2013)

    Despite repeatedly telling officers “You can’t arrest me; I’m a Colts player,” the rookie safety was indeed arrested for disorderly public intoxication and resisting an officer. Police reports indicated the 23-year-old was “very abusive” towards officers and even told one cop on the scene that he was “going to come back and break your jaw.” The incident took place outside of Tiki Bob’s Bar in downtown Indianapolis, where Boyett refused to leave after being denied entry because he was “too intoxicated.” He then began to curse out patrons on the street, left the area and then returned once more.

    Boyett then threw a “stiff arm” at an officer who attempted to place him under arrest and fled the scene on foot. He was eventually caught after a brief chase, but it took four officers to subdue the  NFL player. A day after the incident, he was ultimately cut by the Colts. 

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  • Jerome Simpson (Minnesota Vikings, Nov. 9, 2013)

    The wide receiver has seen better nights after his arrest for DWI, which included failing a field sobriety test and refusing a breath test after arriving at the local jail. The police report also noted that he had blurry eyes and slurred speech at the scene. He was later released after posting $12,000 bail. Simpson was previously suspended for the first three games of the season in 2012 after pleading guilty to a drug-related charge that March. 

    He was placed on three years of probation for that incident, but miraculously avoided jail time last January for his latest arrest. Simpson pleaded guilty to careless driving and a third-degree DWI charge, resulting in a sentence of spending 15 days in a workhouse and performing 120 hours of community service. The Vikings seemed to have forgiven him as well and resigned the wide receiver last week.

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  • D.C. Jefferson (Arizona Cardinals, Nov. 1, 2013)

    The rookie tight end likely won’t see his sophomore season after being dropped by the Cardinals just days after his massive DUI arrest. Jefferson sideswiped another vehicle on a Scottsdale highway and kept on moving before finally pulling into a parking lot. When the police following Jefferson questioned him, he was reportedly so drunk that he wasn’t aware he had crashed into another car. He then blew a .156, nearly double the legal limit. After being booked into custody, he was released that same evening. The reporting officer noted that Jefferson was "very cooperative, polite and respectful” during the arrest.

    Unfortunately for Jefferson, his NFL career was over pretty much before it started. He only played in half of the Cardinal’s eight games up to his DUI arrest and didn’t catch a single pass. He was replaced on the team by Jake Ballard.

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  • Cody Grimm (Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Mar. 10 and May 28, 2013)

    The safety was arrested twice in three months on public intoxication charges. The most recent incident took place while he was attending a wedding in Leesburg, VA, while the initial charge took place in the town of Christianburg, VA. Grimm was given a “deferred deposition” for the March charge, which would have allowed it to be dropped if he remained out of trouble. His behavior was particularly surprising since he already knew his position with the Buccaneers was on thin ice; Grimm had accepted a $500,000 salary cut to remain with the team. Coach Greg Schiano said he was "disappointed" about Grimm’s arrest and that "Our players know our expectations on and off the field and we take these matters very seriously.”

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  • Aldon Smith (San Francisco 49ers, Sept. 20, 2013)

    The all-pro linebacker was arrested on suspicion of DUI and marijuana possession after crashing his car into a tree. The single-vehicle accident took place in San Jose and police officers “determined he was under the influence” after administering breath and field sobriety tests. He posted $5,250 bail that same day and was at practice with his team that same afternoon, but later entered rehab as a result of the arrest. 

    Unfortunately, this isn’t the first issue that the 24-year-old has had with the law. He was arrested on suspicion of drunken driving in Miami Beach in January 2012, and turned himself into authorities on felony weapons charges last October. The charges stemmed from a party at his home in June 2012, in which he and two other guests were stabbed before police found numerous assault rifles and ammunition. The attacks have also sparked a lawsuit from one of the victims, Ronndale Esporlas, who is seeking unspecified damages against Smith for "sustained serious, catastrophic and permanent injuries” during the party. Shortly after turning himself into authorities, the linebacker took a voluntary leave of absence from the team to sort out his issues. 

    However, Pro Bowl tight end Vernon Davis said he was confident his teammate would eventually come around. “It's just a matter of time,” said Davis. “Hopefully, he'll learn from this situation that he got himself into, and maybe it will come out positive instead of negative."

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  • Alfonzo Dennard (New England Patriots, July 11, 2013)

    The quarterback was arrested and cited last summer for driving under the influence and refusing a chemical breath test. He was pulled over in Connecticut during the early morning hours and displayed visible signs of impairment, but allegedly refused to provide an adequate breath sample for testing after being transported to a licensed substance abuse treatment center. However, Dennard claimed he attempted to blow twice for the Breathalyzer test, but the attempts  were not deemed to have been blown hard enough to meet officers' qualifications and he was seen as not complying. 

    The DUI case was dismissed last December no contest to refusing to submit to a chemical test, but Dennard was hardly out of the woods. He had already been sentenced to 30 days in jail for his April 2012 assault of a police officer in Nebraska and the DUI arrest was considered to be a violation of his probation in that case. The judge doubled his jail time to 60 days as a result and warned him that “this is your last chance.” Dennard began his jail term on March 1, but it could be reduced to 35 days with good behavior.

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  • Joe Morgan (New Orleans Saints, May 25th)

    The wide receiver was arrested for driving without a license and DWI after blowing well over double the legal limit. Morgan was found in Jefferson Parish asleep behind the wheel of his vehicle that was parked on the shoulder lane of an expressway in Jefferson Parish. When the responding officer had him step out of his vehicle, he was swaying on his feet and reportedly reeked of booze. Morgan failed field sobriety tests at the scene and blew a .215, well over the .08 legal limit. He was booked at a local jail, but released that same day on $1,150 bond.

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  • Cliff Harris and Claude Davis (New York Jets, April 30, 2013)

    Apparently, the teammates that smoke weed together get cut together. Defensive end Davis and cornerback Harris were cut by the Jets just two days after their arrest for marijuana possession. The incident took place in Morristown, N.J., where a police officer approached their parked vehicle and noticed a strong pot odor when they rolled down the window. A third occupant in the vehicle, Daniel Godfrey, was arrested and charged with intent to distribute marijuana, as well as unlawful possession of a weapon, before being held on $50,000 bail. However, the marginality of both Harris and Davis on the Jets likely contributed to their swift dismissal; neither had ever played in a regular season game. 

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  • Ronnell Lewis (Detroit Lions, Apr. 20, 2013)

    The linebacker was arrested on charges of public intoxication and disturbing the peace after getting into a bar brawl in Oklahoma. The offseason altercation with a man named Herve Sivuilu took place outside of a bar called Logan’s in the town of Norman. Lewis pushed the man to the ground and punched him in the face in front of police, yet refused to stop fighting him even after being tased by an officer.He finally dropped to the ground after being tased for a second time and was transported to a hospital for treatment. Police also reported that Lewis had slurred speech and “red watery blood shot eyes.”

    But eventually being dropped by the Lions for his wild behavior didn’t get Lewis to change his ways; one week after being cut, he was arrested on Labor Day for suspicion of DUI after failing field sobriety tests. 

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  • Evan Rodriguez (Chicago Bears, Mar. 20 and May 31, 2013)

    A wild offseason last year resulted in fullback Evan Rodriguez being dropped by the Bears. He was arrested and charged with disorderly intoxication and resisting arrest last March after becoming combative with police. He was the passenger in a car accident, but police immediately noticed his “slurred speech, bloodshot watery eyes and a strong odor of alcoholic beverage emitting from his breath." He refused to give his information to officers because “I’m an NFL player” and refused to return to the sidewalk after approaching an officer, screaming at them that he was “hardheaded like that and I don't have to listen."

    Two months later, he was charged with driving under the influence, in addition to speeding and improper lane change. The Bears finally had enough and cut him the following month. But just one week before being dropped, Rodriguez even seemed to sense he would soon be out of a job. “I just have to face the music,” he said. “Anything that's going to happen, I just have to handle it and be a man about my whole approach about everything. Just [have to be] more responsible, and I have to hold myself more to a higher standard and be more accountable for my actions."

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By McCarton Ackerman 03/21/14

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