Recently, it seems like the legal system has become as much a part of the game of football as the forward pass and the timeout. The NFL is no stranger to the courtroom, whether it has to deal with the lockout or its stars breaking the law.
What is the proper course of action to take when a player crosses the line and commits a crime? Some teams are fast to pull the trigger and dump the player, while others hold onto them and believe in second chances (or maybe third or fourth in some scenarios).
Football is a game where the more talented player thrives, and some teams put that as paramount in front of moral code.
If you took Kenny Britt in the felon pool as the one player who would get into the most trouble during the lockout, you most likely made yourself quite a bit of money. The third year receiver’s run-ins with the law have become as commonplace and second nature to him as catching a football.
What Tennessee does with Britt is a mystery, but the star’s legal issues certainly aren’t anything new when it comes to what some of his predecessors at the position have pulled off in years past.
Before Cris Carter was a part of one of the highest powered offenses in the later 90s in Minnesota, he was the primary scoring target for the Philadelphia Eagles at the beginning of his career. Head coach at the time, Buddy Ryan, surprisingly let Carter go before the 1989 season. It would later be revealed that Carter’s addiction to alcohol and drugs such as marijuana and ecstasy was the main reason for his release.
To this day, Carter contributes his turnaround not only on the football field, but in life to Buddy Ryan for the service that he performed.
Career stats: 1,101 receptions, 13,899 yards, 130 touchdowns
Irvin led the Cowboys dynasty of the 90s on the outside as its top receiver. He flourished with stars such as Troy Aikman, Emmitt Smith, Daryl Johnston, and Jay Novacek. The Cowboys, at the time, were probably more lenient than any other franchise when it came to troubled stars. They strictly cared about results on the field, and to their credit, it worked out with three Super Bowl rings.
Irvin’s first incident came in 1996 after an arrest and charges filed against him for possession of cocaine on the receiver’s 30th birthday. After pleading to a no contest, Irvin would be served with community service, a $10,000 fine, and four years of probation.
Later in 1996, Irvin and teammate Erik Williams were falsely accused by a woman for sexual assault. This would prove devastating for the Cowboys as it could be argued that it served as a distraction for the team when it consequently lost its playoff game that year to the Carolina Panthers.
Two years later in 1998, Irvin’s name would grace the headlines for the wrong reason again after an altercation with teammate Everett McIver. However, McIver would eventually not press charges and the matter would die out with speculation that Irvin paid off McIver to bury the issue.
Career stats: 750 receptions, 11,904 yards, 65 touchdowns.
Holmes’s career defining moment will go down as being on the receiving end of Ben Roethlisberger’s pass which won Super Bowl XLIII against the Arizona Cardinals. Though Pittsburgh eventually traded the troubled receiver to the New York Jets for a 5th round pick in 2010, the receiver has enjoyed success with the Jets having gone to the AFC Championship game this past season.
May 2006- Disorderly Conduct
June 2006- Domestic violence and assault
October 2008- Possession of marijuana
March 2010- Assault
Career stats: 287 receptions, 4,581 yards, 26 touchdowns
To be fair to Moss, most of his issues have to do with his actions on the field rather than off. Though the receiver has been involved in several off-the-field accidents, the main knock on Moss’s reputation has been his effort during games.
Moss has essentially been that tortured genius that couldn’t care less about school yet knows he’s smarter than everyone else. When you get a 100 percent devoted Randy Moss, you’re getting arguably one of the greatest deep threat targets in the history of the game. However, the only problem is that’s not the Randy Moss you are getting most of the time.
With that said though, Moss was given another chance by the Patriots back in 2007 and went onto put up career numbers, including breaking the record for most receiving touchdowns with 23.
September 2002- Suspicion of assault with an automobile and a misdemeanor for marijuana possession.
January 2008- Dating violence
Career stats: 954 receptions, 14,858 yards, 153 touchdowns
Though Marshall has been one of the more legally troubled stars in the NFL recently, that didn’t stop the Miami Dolphins from giving the receiver $50 million over five years after they acquired him from the Denver Broncos.
Marshall’s incidents have mostly had to do with domestic violence, so one can’t necessarily completely blame him if his wife is of the Glenn Close from Fatal Attraction type. With that said though, Marshall has been involved in three domestic disputes since 2007.
Sprinkle in a DUI and a couple of assault charges and you can see why Miami’s front office loses sleep over a player like Marshall, especially when they are heavily invested in him from a monetary perspective.
Career stats: 413 receptions, 5,033 yards, 28 touchdowns