NFL: All-Time Felon Team

Spenser T. HarrisonCorrespondent IMay 29, 2008

With Sgt. Roger Goodell stepping up his conduct policy, it's time to relish the now-dying National Felons League. In honor of the illustrious criminal careers of many of its athletes, I’ve created the All-Time Felon Team.

While there are no doubt some people I’m missing; most likely a lot of white guys in the '50s and '60s whom the media covered up for because, that was the thing back then. I’ve included many of the most notorious and memorable. Thankfully the majority of those on this list that are still alive have “found” God and put their troubles behind them.


Todd Marinovich

Todd's career stats might not be hall-of-fame caliber but his rap sheet is:

*1991: Arrested while still a student at USC, on charges of rape and substance abuse.

*1997: Arrested on suspicion of growing marijuana and served three months in jail after pleading guilty

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*2000: Arrested for sexual assault

*2005: After being found with apparent drug paraphernalia. He fled on a child's bicycle, but was caught a few blocks away. He gave his occupation as "unemployed artist" and "anarchist" on the police report, which stated that his pupils were dilated and his behavior "erratic.”

*2007: Arrested and charged with felony drug possession and resisting a police order after being stopped for skateboarding near the Newport Beach, California Pier boardwalk, where skateboarding is forbidden by local ordinance. Marinovich ran away when officers tried to stop him. He was found hiding in a carport about six blocks away. He had a guitar case, and inside officers found about a gram of powdered methamphetamine, a metal spoon and a hypodermic needle.

Notable Mentions: Michael Vick, Warren Moon

Running Backs

O.J. Simpson

I suppose this is un-fair since O.J. obviously didn’t kill his wife, as the court of law proved. However, his upcoming trial in Vegas for criminal conspiracy, assault, kidnapping, and robbery seemed like enough to warrant his placing on this list.

Lawrence Phillips

We all know Lawrence’s penchant for beating up women; at Nebraska he dragged his girlfriend down a flight of stairs and slammed her head against a mailbox, and also punched a girl in the face at a nightclub for not dancing with him. But let us not forget his glorious attempt at a comeback in a pick-up game in California.

On Aug. 21, 2005, Phillips was arrested for assault after allegedly driving a car into three teenagers, following a dispute with the teens during a pick-up football game in Los Angeles, California. Readers should also note that at the time of the arrest, Phillips was wanted in San Diego in connection with two alleged domestic abuse incidents involving a former girlfriend, who claimed that Phillips choked her to the point of unconsciousness during one of the incidents.

Notable Mentions: Jim Brown, Stanley Wilson Sr., Jamal Lewis

Tight End

Mark Chmura

Chmura was accused of having had inappropriate sexual contact on Apr. 8, 2000, at a Waukesha Catholic Memorial High School Prom Party, with the then 17-year-old babysitter of his children. Ultimately, Chmura was tried but found not guilty of all charges. Two days after being acquitted of child enticement and third-degree sexual assault, Mark Chmura acknowledged that his behavior at a post-prom party "wasn't something a married man should do".

I want to remind everyone that this was after Chmura refused to meet with then U.S. President Bill Clinton at the White House following the Packers Super Bowl XXXI win. Chmura, who was a popular fixture at Republican fund-raisers, said at the time that he had lost respect for President Clinton over the Monica Lewinsky scandal and could not bear to shake his hand. Priceless Mark.


Notable Mention: Jeremy Stevens


Michael Irvin

This was an obvious choice as Michael continually made himself a fixture within the Dallas police community: sexual assaults (case was dropped), regular assaults (paid out of court), and a few drug charges along the way. Unbeknown to many, Irvin made enough of an impression to have Johnnie Hernandez (a Dallas police officer) put out a hit on him to an undercover DEA agent, for which he served 12 years in jail.


Rae Carruth

His crime makes him the Jerry Rice of this list. He ordered, and paid, for a drive-by execution of his then girlfriend Cherica Adams for not having an abortion (Rae was getting tired of having to pay for more children). Although Adams was still alive when she got to the hospital (she even identified Rae as the perpetrator), she died shortly thereafter.

Following her death and his posting of bail, Rae began a short-lived career as a fugitive until he was captured in neighboring Tennessee. It should be noted he was found hiding in the trunk of a car outside a motel with $3,900 in cash, bottles containing urine, extra clothes, candy bars, and a cell phone. Hopefully he still has his receiving skills and doesn’t drop the soap too often.

Offensive Line

Justin Strzelczyk

After a hit-and-run accident in New York, he led police on a 40-mile chase, during which he flipped them off and threw beer cans at their patrol cars. Unfortunately for Justin, the chase ended rather abruptly when his car smashed head on at 90 MPH into a tanker-truck carrying corrosive acid, killing him instantly.


Victor Riley

Although he was arrested in New Orleans for a DWI, it was his other crime that landed him on this list. In 2001, he was charged with felony aggravated assault, criminal damage to property, fleeing the scene of an accident, and child endangerment after he rammed his vehicle several times in to another occupied by his wife and child. He plead guilty to the aggravated assault and received counseling.

Nate Newton

In a perfect world, Nate would not be a considered a criminal for his actions, however, the U.S. government still thinks otherwise.

In November of 2001, Big Nate was arrested for driving a white van containing 213lbs. of marijuana. Just five weeks later he was again arrested with marijuana, however this time it was only a meager 175lbs. As Nate himself said “It was all the fun the law would allow … and then some”


Barrett Robbins

After going completely AWOL just hours before their Super Bowl matchup against the Buccaneers, Robbins never returned to football. Since then he’s been charged for attempted murder of a police officer (whom he violently attacked after being shot twice in the chest), and was also arrested for marijuana while awaiting that trial.

Chris Terry

Arrested for wife beating in 2002, in which he slammed his wife into a wall, head-butted her, and stuffed her face into a pillow while their two children watched.

Notable Mentions: Bryant McKinnie, Ross Verba, Todd Steussie

Defensive Line

Jim Dunaway

In 1998, Dunaway's ex-wife, Nonniel Dunaway, was found dead in a half-empty swimming pool. An autopsy revealed that she had a fractured skull and was unconscious when she was placed in the water by her assailant. Prior to this event, Nonniel had won a divorce judgment which gave her more than 800 acres of property that the couple owned, $1,800 a month in alimony, and half of Dunaway's NFL pension.

They had been divorced since 1995, and Dunaway was planning to appeal. Although Dunaway was later charged with her murder, a grand jury chose not to indict Dunaway of the charges. In response, his children filed a wrongful death lawsuit, alleging that Dunaway was responsible for their mother's death. In 2002, Dunaway was found liable and ordered to pay $579,000 to his children. Ironically he was a teammate of O.J. Simpson for three years.

Dexter Manley

While other D-lineman that are not listed might have done more heinous crimes than Manley, he makes the list because he was the only one to receive a life-time ban from the NFL; for recording four official positive tests for illegal substances.

Since he played in the '80s and early-'90s when the NFL’s drug testing was suspect at best, this is quite an achievement. He also served time for a cocaine possession in 1995.              


Leonard Little

Leonard Little claims the title as the only active NFL player to have killed another person. In 1998, after a booze filled b-day bash, Leonard decided to drive home, causing an accident and killing Susan Gutweiler of St. Louis, Missouri. Although he served a lengthy 90-day term, four years probation, and 1,000 hours of community service, Little was arrested six years later under the suspicion of driving intoxicated and speeding. During the stop he failed three field-sobriety tests, however Little was acquitted of driving while intoxicated, but was convicted of the misdemeanor speeding charge.

Mark Gastineau

The one time sack king was involved in a few off-the-field activities, including, assault, drug possession, and woman beating (burned a girlfriend with a cigarette lighter). Repeated parole violations led to 11 months in Riker's Island prison. He admitted to using steroids while he played for the Jets.

In 1991, Gastineau began a career in boxing. Although his first fight against Derrick Dukes produced a first-round knockout, Dukes, a professional wrestler, later admitted he took a dive. Furthermore in a 60 Minutes interview several others that fought Gastineau were told to take dives to make Gastineau look good.

Notable Mentions: Tank Johnson, Kevin Williams, Russell Maryland, Alonzo Spellman



Hollywood Henderson

In November 1983, Henderson was arrested for smoking crack cocaine with two teenage girls in California. He was accused of threatening them with a gun and sexual assault.However, he claimed that he gave them crack in exchange for consensual sex.

He pleaded no contest to the charges and served eight months in court-ordered drug rehabilitation, as well as two years in prison

Ray Lewis

He may have killed Jacinth Baker, 21 and Richard Lollar, 24. Or he may have ordered his friends to brutally stab them while he sat in the limo, or he may have not been involved at all...I don’t know, I’m not a detective or a doctor. But I’ll tell you what didn’t kill them, smoking.

Lawrence Taylor

The best defensive player in modern football history had an itch for the nose candy to say the least. In his infamous 60 Minutes interview, Taylor admitted to spending upwards of a thousand of dollars a day on cocaine, and he likened his domicile to a crack house. He also garnered a tax evasion charge to go with it all. Lawrence won’t be the first, or last, to tell you, “cocaine is a hell of a drug."

Notable Mentions: Joey Porter, Odell Thurman, Bill Romanowski,


Pac-Man Jones

We all know the deal. 


Corey Fuller

Fuller was charged with hosting high-stakes poker games at his house, which was also the site of a shootout. In that event, an assailant attempted to rob the card game and a shootout ensued, in which approximately 20 rounds were fired between Fuller and the man. Neither of them connected.


Terrance Kiel

In 2003, Kiel was shot three times after an attempted carjacking in Houston, though his most notable arrest was in 2006.

On Sept. 26, 2006, Kiel was arrested for multiple drug charges including: possession, possession with the intent to sell, and transportation of a controlled substance. Police came to the Chargers' practice facility and arrested him. He was released after posting a $1,550,000 bond.

On Feb. 7, 2007, he pleaded guilty to felony and misdemeanor drug charges for shipping codeine-based cough syrup to Texas; where it's known as “lean”, “purple”, “purple drank”, etc. He was ordered to do 100 hours of volunteer work, including talking to young people about dangers of drugs, and to undergo counseling for urinating in public. Surprisingly, Kiel remains a free agent.


Eugene Robinson

After winning that year's Bart Starr award from the Christian group Athletes in Action for his "high moral character”, he was arrested the night before the Super Bowl for offering money in return for sex to an undercover police officer.

Notable Mentions: Dwight Smith, Sean Taylor, Samari Rolle, Fred Smoot

Special Teams

Sebastian Janikowski

He's been arrested for numerous bar fights, drinking and driving (.20 BAC), reckless driving, bribing a police officer, evidence tampering, and possession of GHB; also known as the "the date-rape drug." Did I mention he was nearly deported on more than one occasion?


Todd Sauerbrun

Not much to go on for punters, so a DWI and steroids should do.

Dave Meggett

In 2004, Meggett surrendered to Dedham, Massachusetts authorities for failing to produce $191,600 that he owed in child support. Aldo in September of 2006, he was formally charged with the second-degree rape of his girlfriend.

Feel free to let me know who I left off this pantheon of criminal perpetrators

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