Mar

19

Prized NFL Draft Prospect Sees Stock Slip After Drunk Driving Arrest

By Mike

A former star football player at the University of Georgia was arrested for a DUI last week, and sources say his arrest may compromise his status as a potential top selection in the upcoming NFL Draft.

The arrestee, Orson Charles, who played tight end at Georgia, was arrested and charged with driving under the influence of alcohol and blocking the flow of traffic by Athens-Clarke County Police in Athens, Georgia, according to a report from ESPN.com.

The incident allegedly took place at 3 a.m. in Athens. Sources indicate that police found Charles’ car stalled in the middle of an intersection. When police checked to see if his car was disabled, Charles started to drive a short distance but soon pulled over at the officers’ request.

After his arrest, Charles took a breathalyzer test and registered a blood alcohol level of .095, which is slightly above the legal limit of .08. Police then booked Charles into Clarke County Jail, and he was released later that morning after posting a $1,750 bond.

A passenger was in the car with Charles when he was arrested, but the passenger has not been identified. Sources did not say whether Charles has obtained the services of a DUI attorney.

ESPN.com reports that the incident could have negative consequences for Charles, who was a 2011 AFCA All-American and is ranked by one scouting service as the 38th-best prospect in April’s NFL Draft.

The same scouting service also ranked Charles as the second-best tight end prospect in the entire draft, which suggests that he could be drafted higher than the 38th position, given the increased importance of the tight end position in the NFL’s pass-happy offenses.

Sources indicate that Charles had 45 catches for 574 yards and five touchdowns during the 2011 season. He finished his career with 10 touchdown catches, which tied Georgia’s all-time record for touchdown catches by a tight end.

This January, Charles announced that he would be leaving Georgia after his successful junior season. This year, Charles was also a finalist for the John Mackey Award, which recognizes the country’s best tight end each year.

To be fair, the DUI arrest will probably not drop Charles very far down most NFL teams’ draft boards. But his response to the DUI arrest and his subsequent actions may prove to be critical as he tries to regain the trust of NFL executives.

Professional sports players have a (somewhat undeserved) reputation as acting as if they are above the law, and professional sports teams are increasingly concerned about keeping their players out of legal trouble.

Feb

7

Star NFL Rookie Aldon Smith Charged with Drunk Driving

By Mike

Aldon Smith, a rookie linebacker for the San Francisco 49ers, was charged late last week with driving under the influence of alcohol, according to a report from the New York Daily News.

The arrest occurred in Miami Beach, a favorite hangout of professional athletes and people who like to encounter professional athletes.

Jail records obtained from Miami-Dade County authorities show that Smith was booked on Saturday night for drunk driving and that he was being held on a $1,000 bond.

A spokesperson for Miami-Dade County Corrections told reporters that Smith had indeed been arrested by Miami Beach police, but did not offer any specifics as to the nature of the arrest.

In a statement released just hours after the arrest, the San Francisco 49ers acknowledge that they were aware of the arrest, but, perhaps not surprisingly, refused to comment on the matter.

According to the team’s statement, the organization “takes these issues very seriously, but will reserve further comment at this time, as it is an ongoing legal matter.” The team did claim, though, that it would “continue to gather the facts and monitor the developments closely.”

The arrest comes as a black eye for both Aldon Smith and the 49ers, which lost in heartbreaking fashion last week to the New York Giants in the NFC Championship Game.

Before their loss, however, the 49ers had experienced a wildly successful season, as new coach Jim Harbaugh oversaw a dramatic change in fortune for the previously moribund franchise.

A major part of the team’s success was its league-leading defense, which was bolstered by the sterling play of Smith, who had 14 sacks from his defensive end position in 2011. The 14 sacks ranked first in the NFL among rookies.

Smith, who was drafted in the first round as the seventh overall pick of the 2011 NFL Draft, entered the league with high expectations, and certainly fulfilled them during his first year by setting the franchise record for sacks by a rookie.

The recent arrest, however, has ended Smith’s honeymoon phase with the franchise. If he is indeed convicted on the DUI charges, Smith could also receive some form of punishment from the team.

While the law typically gives first-time drunk drivers some jail time, heavy fines, or a suspension of their license, professional athletes often face fines or suspensions from their teams, as well.

In some circumstances, professional league offices also step in to mete out some punishment, although it remains to be seen if Smith will draw the ire of the NFL commissioner’s office.