The NFL All Convict Team

Aaron LiebmanAnalyst IDecember 10, 2008

With NFL players current and former making news for off-the-field behavior, let’s take a look at some of the exclusive company they join. Put together on the same team, they might be a force to be reckoned long as they leave the guns at home and have already snorted all of their cocaine. 

Some of the players listed you may not have heard of but that shouldn’t take anything away from their gangsta’ status. And some positions have more listed because their criminal accomplishments were just too prestigious to overlook. I present to you the offenders, er, I mean offensive players for the All-Convict Team. 


Michael Vick: Insert cheesy overused dog joke here. As long as he doesn’t drop the soap, he might still have a career. I hear the Lions have a history of signing free-agent quarterbacks off the street. 

Art Schlichter: Drafted by the Colts in 1982, Schlichter had a gambling problem that resulted in him losing all of his signing bonus money by midseason. While on the bench, he would be charting scores from out of town games in his playbook. Owing as much as $700,000, he was being threatened by bookies of exposure. 

He made a deal with the FBI but was suspended by the NFL. After trying to amount comebacks in the Canadian Football League and Arena Football League, he was in and out of prisons for 10 years mostly on charges of writing bad checks.

He is considered to be even MORE of a draft bust than Ryan Leaf.


O.J. Simpson: His recent conviction for theft, or kidnapping, or whatever it was just proves that if you have money you can get away with murder. But if you go after somebody else’s money, you have to pay for it. 

Lawrence Phillips: Remember this guy?  Not many people do.  But he was once the promising running back out of Nebraska who was drafted by the Rams in the first round.

He was most famous for having to be picked up from jail to go to training camp by head coach Dick Vermeil. During his playing time in the NFL, he faced frequent drug and assault charges.

After stumbling around in the Canadian Football League, Phillips was arrested for driving his car into three teenagers. Although these charges were dropped, this arrest brought the attention of the San Diego police, who had a warrant for his arrest for choking his girlfriend. 

But before going to San Diego, he would have to make a stop in Los Angeles, where he was also wanted for assault on someone else. In October of this year, he was sentenced to 10 years in prison for various assault crimes.

Timmy Smith: He set a Super Bowl record for rushing yards in Super Bowl XXII that still stands today. Amazingly, that was his first start. It would also be his only NFL glory. After drug problems and weight problems, he was out of the NFL just as quickly as he emerged. 

In 2005, he was arrested for selling cocaine to an undercover detective. He was recently released from prison earlier this year. 

Jamal Lewis: The current Brown and former Raven rushed for over 2,000 yards in 2003, and that same season rushed for the most yards in a game which has recently been eclipsed by Adrian Peterson.

But just a few months afterwards, he was charged with possession and intent to distribute five kilos of cocaine.  He was suspended for the first four games of the next season, and spent four months in jail in February 2005.


Rae Carruth: Carruth was a first round draft pick of the Carolina Panthers in 1997.  After a promising rookie campaign in which he caught 44 passes and 4 touchdowns, he struggled through injuries the next season.  However, that would be the least of his problems. 

In November of 1999, he murdered his pregnant girlfriend in a drive by shooting. She was carrying twins, but only one child survived. Carruth dodged the death penalty but was sentenced to 18 years in prison.

Plaxico Burress: No need to refresh anyone’s memory here. But since he only shot himself and didn’t even really wound himself, he doesn’t get the top shot, I mean spot. 

Michael Irvin: After two violent crimes, let’s get back to drugs.

Arrested for possession of the good ole white stuff, Irvin was suspended for his team’s first games in 1996. Even retiring from the sport didn’t slow him down. After being arrested but getting the charges dropped a few times, in 2005, he was pulled over by police.

Searching his car, they found drug paraphernalia, a crack pipe, and bags of marijuana.  He used the classic excuse of “holding it for a friend” which turned out to be his brother.

Irvin claimed he had taken it away from his brother to help him get clean and intended to throw it away but “forgot.”  Not an arrest, but perhaps influenced by drug use, he said on a radio show that Cowboys quarterback must have had black ancestors, or as he said it, “slave brothers” for his athletic ability. 

The only debate on that would be if his comments were brought on by marijuana use, cocaine, or miscellaneous drugs.

Chris Henry: Wow, where do we begin with this guy?  With some of the above players their criminal activities were focused on one area. But this guy’s done it all: concealed weapons charge, sexual assault questioning, assault, drunk and disorderly, and of course, the old fashioned drug abuse. 

The man’s rap sheet and suspension count makes Pacman Jones look Indiana Jones.  Perhaps he just wanted to get off the Cincinnati Bengals. He is currently serving a house arrest sentence, but I’m sure somehow he’ll find a way to break the law. 


Mark Chmura: Not exactly a huge offender as much as a “oh no he didn’t” type.  After a successful career with the Green Bay Packers in which he won a Super Bowl, he was accused of sexual conduct at a high school prom party with his 17-year-old babysitter (maybe he forgot to tip her). 

Although he was never convicted, he was released from the Packers and never played another down in the NFL. 


Nate Newton: And you thought Michael Irvin was the only troublemaker on the team.  Newton played relatively the same duration as Irvin and also won three Super Bowls.  Although Irvin might have made more headlines, he never went to the big house like Newton did.

In 2001, he was pulled over while transporting over 200 pounds of marijuana. Learning his lesson, Newton was caught five weeks later with only 175 pounds of marijuana. He was sentenced to two-and-a-half years in prison.  Now a free man, he is a public speaker and claims to be clean. Which means he’s just found better ways of hiding it. 

Ben Coleman: Coleman played eight years in the NFL for the Cardinals, Jaguars, Chargers, and Redskins. Just because he may not be as recognizable a name doesn’t mean he can avoid the law. 

However, his crime is an original one, at least compared to the others. Last month, Coleman was convicted of tax evasion and sentenced to three years in prison for falsifying loan applications and identity theft. 

Funny how some non-drug crimes get harsher punishment. But, as stated in the case of O.J., when it comes to money…

Gerald Perry: Perry was a blocker for John Elway during his Super Bowl misery years.  In perhaps another miscarriage of justice he was sentenced to 15 days in prison for soliciting a prostitute. 

Matt O’Dwyer: O’Dwyer played 10 years in the NFL with the Jets, Bengals, and Packers. He even appeared in the Vince Vaughn film Made.

His crime was a small one of a simple bar brawl which got him just three years probation. His place here is mostly to get more blockers for this convict team.

Tune back tomorrow for the defensive side of the All Convict Team.


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