Ten Best Narcotic Offenders in NFL History
Some would suggest the most alluring part of the NFL offseason might be the Draft. Others are intrigued by the business side of the league with discussions focused on the looming potential of a player lockout, the ongoing contract negotiations for players who feel they are wronged on payday, or the wheeling and dealing teams do behind closed doors.
Nothing excites me more than downtime for obscenely-rich and supremely-egotistical athletes touting way too much free time, way too much money, and way too much temptation.
JaMarcus Russell’s love of the drizank laced wit a lil’ syzzrup is the just the latest headline in an outstanding history of professional sports laced with rampant drug use… and to be honest, it’s one of the lamest. Codeine syrup? Not only is it not shocking to learn a dumbass like Russell is choosing codeine as his chaser, it also reminds that the kid is a total pussy.
This is the NFL, son. This is big boy football. Here are the 10 best drug-related crimes we’ve enjoyed through the dedicated efforts of National Football League, and yes, there are plenty that didn’t make the cut.
Bam Morris was fresh into a promising NFL career with the Pittsburgh Steelers when, in 1996, he was arrested with six pounds of pot in his car. He plead guilty to possession and received probation, but in 1998 he was sentenced to 10 years for parole violation.
His attorney worked hard for a plea bargain and he was out in 89 days, but Bam wasn’t done. In 2000 he was on the road to recovery with a little help from his friends once again. The FBI arrested Morris in his home and charged him with conspiracy to distrubte 100 kilograms or more of marijuana.
Original reports from 1996 also noted Morris had been involved in some domestic disputes that may or may not have involved physical abuse of a girlfriend… so he was a pretty smart dude on all fronts.
In 2006 reports flowed, folling his release, suggesting Bam was seeking another shot at the NFL. Needless to say, no one called.
The Dallas Cowboys of the 1990’s were as strong, as entertaining, and as troubled as any team the NFL has known. Michael Irvin was their leader.
Now respected as a quality analyst for the NFL Network, Irvin was known for his penchant for blow and being blown when he was the top offensive weapon for quarterback Troy Aikman during championship runs under Jimmy Johnson and Barry Switzer. The details of Irvin’s party pleasures were detailed by a Penthouse Pet in the January 1997 edition of the men’s magazine. My apologies as I can’t find a decent link to it online. To be honest it’s fairly predictable… Irvin likes sex with multiple women, sex is better with cocaine, and when you are trying to please multiple women for multiple nights of the week, you need cocaine… LOTS of cocaine.
That’s why he’s The Playmaker. Based on the history built by this league and the evolution of sexual enhancement since, you can’t blame Irvin for the approach. Viagra wasn’t an option and, let’s face it, if you were lucky enough to have been there you would do what you had to do.
And you’d walk away with one hell of a story.
Hambrick would rate higher except he wasn’t so good on the football field. A former running back for the Dallas Cowboys and Arizona Cardinals (just like Emmitt Smith… minus the confidence, the stature, the Hall of Fame career, but with more crack), Hambrick was convicted in 2007 after selling substantial amounts of crack cocaine to an undercover police officer. In fact, he sold rocks to the popo three times during September of 2007, picking up one count of selling five or more grams of crack cocaine), with two counts of distributing 50 grams or more of crack cocaine later that same month.
After hiding from the police for a small amount of time Hambrick was caught and, in May of 2008, sentenced to five years in a federal prison. All in all he sold 78 grams of crack to the police. To make matters worse, he’s rumored as a snitch… supposedly destined for a minimum of 10 years in prison for those crimes but, after “cooperating with police, only serving five after reaching a plea agreement with authorities.
He’s in prison as we speak… so the story may have more to tell in the years ahead. Stay tuned.
While Mike Singletary earned all of the praise and adoration of football fans in the City with Big Shoulders, it was Richard Dent who was famed as the leading source of havoc for the best defense the NFL has ever known. Unfortunately, he may have been using the world’s best performance enhancer (at least when it comes to terror).
In 1988 as his career was winding down the rumors of his love of the rails came to a head when Dent refused to take a mandatory drug test, leading the NFL to hand him a 30-day suspension from the league. The turmoil turned into a bit of a watershed moment in leading to new, strict language in the league’s collective bargaining agreement… but for Dent, it turned into the crack that broke the dam. He was labeled a drug addict, went on to find trouble with the law, and today he is fighting for Hall of Fame induction that eludes him as some suggest his drug problems, coming at the height of the NFL’s cocaine epidemic while serving as the face of the league’s most dominant defense ever, stand in the way of those crucial votes.
You think he’s cleared up, gotten clean, and moved on… and you wake up one day and there he is again.
You know Lawrence Taylor and his record of off-the-field (and sometimes on the field) performance. If not, we suggest you try this nifty trick. Type “Lawrence Taylor Legal History” into Google and you’ll get THIS.
To be fair, that graphic starts in the 1800’s with some other Lawrence Taylor, but note the TREMENDOUS spike in the graph starting in 1986. Everything after that date belongs to LT. We won’t recount here (all of the hits are there in the Google link), but know this… Taylor could be the top dog on this list. He SHOULD be the top dog on this list… but he ain’t done yet and we’d hate to rob him of his pursuit of those goals.
Go get ‘em Lawrence. Break a leg.
If you don’t know Todd Marinovich then you don’t follow football. The kid was tabbed as the most highly-evolved NFL prospect in the history of the game, earning the nickname “Robo Quarterback” after a prodigious prep career followed by further success at Southern Cal.
That led to a professional career that started with the Los Angeles Raiders (go figure… drafted 24th overall, ahead of Brett Favre) in 1991. It ended one year later after horrific performance on and off the field. Marinovich was known as a weed and cocaine man after an arrest in college, he suffered three failed drug tests during his short stint in the league.
In interviews since Marinovich has detailed his decisions to use LSD after NFL games. He later turned to heroin and crack… while playing for the BC Lions of the Canadian Football League. They gave him the boot, he moved on to the Los Angeles Avengers in the Arena League where he enjoyed his best football work ever while suffering from major heroin withdrawal. He got a new contract and, shortly after cashing his signing bonus, he was arrested for buying heroin.
That led to meth, trips in and out of rehab, and nine arrests with charges of five felonies resulting in one year of incarceration.
Fans of today will know Mercury Morris as the annoying, loud-mouth prick that opens his mouth every time an NFL team starts getting thoughts of an unbeaten season. As a member of the only team to ever complete the feat (the ’72 Dolphins), Morris has taken it upon himself to serve as the rep for the squad when the time comes to defend their honor as the best team the league has ever seen.
Morris also happens to be one of the most illustrious convicts in NFL history. In November of 1982 Morris was sentenced to 20 years in the pen for cocaine trafficking.
To be fair, Morris has maintained his innocence and in 1986 he was somewhat vindicated after a judge determined Morris was “unfairly prohibited from presenting certain testimony at his trial.” Several of the charges were dropped, his sentence was lowered to four and a half years, and he was released after the court gave him credit for three years he served before the Supreme Court could hear the case.
Still… 20 years for trafficking… that’s Johnny Depp from “Blow”, and that, my friends, is impressive to say the least.
Another product of the Dallas Cowboys system of felony supremacy, Newton has an amazing case few can match in terms of ambition and profit potential (let’s face it, in the NFL and in the drug czar game… you either go big or you go home).
Newton’s first arrest was in November of 2001 when he and two women were arrested with 213 pounds of weed in a van (down by the river… yes, it’s funny every time). Then, in one of the craziest moves in the history of history, while out on bond six weeks later Newton was arrested again, this time alone with 175 pounds of marijuana in his truck. The next year he plead guilty to conspiracy to distrubute and possession with intent to distribute.
The plea deal got him off light again as NFL money saved the day. Newton was facing 20 years and a $1 million fine but instead pulled a 30-month stint with a $25,000 fine and 250 hours of community service (according to CNN, he lectured to students about the importance of avoiding drugs… I would think lectures about the importance of not getting caught while dealing with mass amounts of drugs would have been more educational).
In an Associated Press interview in 2005 Newton told reporters he was set to make $75,000 per transaction in the deal. “I couldn’t see myself NOT being the biggest dope man.” I would suggest that many red-blooded Americans, if honest, would answer “yes” to the following question…
If you could make $75,000 for one day of illegal work, and you knew that you could get off for $25,000 and 30 days (after getting arrested TWICE for trying it), would you risk it?
In terms of the quality of the story, Newton is an elite talent that should rank high on this list. However, the details of those listed below are just a bit more… entertaining.
We could build an entire shrine of shame for Henry but we’d have to distrubute profits to the 68 illegitimate children he’s fathered… and I hate buying stamps.
In October of 2008 Travis Henry, working under the guidance of Mike Shanahan and the Denver Broncos, was arrested for attempting to sell cocaine to an undercover police officer (notice how this keeps happening). Starting in Montana, the DEA made arrests and got people to turn state’s evidence on others, picking up a couple with six pounds of weed and three kilos of coke in the car. Those folks told the DEA they got the drugs from Henry, and thus the deal was done.
That arrest led to a massive avalanche of headlines focused on Henry’s model personal life. The DEA report noted the passengers were allegedly in debt to the tune of $40,000 to Henry and that Henry had threatened them and their families if payment wasn’t made.
Just one year earlier Henry signed a five-year, $22.5 million contract with the Broncos. The arrest led local reporters to learn that Henry is legally recognized as the father of nine children by nine women and that he is beyond behind in child support payments to most of them. Reports suggest Shanahan signed Henry despite knowing this, despite a one-year NFL suspension served by Henry earlier in his career for failing a drug test, and despite an obvious lack of character in fashion and eyewear that wouldn’t suggest he is not dealing drugs. Just LOOK at him.
The best part… Shanny stood up for Henry in the press after the arrest. Despite all of this, he was suggesting Henry would be cleared and the team would be there for him. In July of 2009 he was sentenced to three years federal prison for financing a drug trafficking operation between Colorado and Montana. Cocaine… brought to you, Colorado, by Travis Henry and your Denver Broncos.
And the best narcotics moment in NFL history…
I simply cannot tell the full Dexter Manley story here… it would double the size of this already-outrageous offering. If you want to read that, check out this post from Tarhog on ExtremeSkins.com. I’ll give you the bullet points…
– Supremely talented linebacker
– Supremely depressing childhood
– Falls in the NFL Draft due to questionable character
– Supremely voracious appetite for cocaine
– Several failed drug tests
– Several arrests
– Still supremely talented
– Learned to be illiterate despite attending Oklahoma State
– Rehab, lecture circuit, reborn
It’s an amazing story – would be a MUCH better movie than The Blindside (no offense Big Mike) – and you should read it. But don’t get too attached… there’s always someone better out there waiting for his chance to shine.