Is Jerramy Stevens finally out of chances?
Football might finally be over for tight end Jerramy Stevens, who was arrested last weekend on an allegation of felony drug possession. Stevens has a criminal history that spans 12 years, from River Ridge High School in Lacey, to the University of Washington, to his NFL career, which started with the Seahawks.
Seattle Times NFL reporter
"He asked if I could 'cut him a break.' " — Sgt. John Sluckis, Tampa Police
It was a Saturday evening, less than an hour until the Tampa Bay Buccaneers had to be checked in at the team hotel.
The volume of Jerramy Stevens' stereo first attracted the attention of the Tampa Police officer, according to the report. Then Sluckis noticed the smell of marijuana inside Stevens' F-150 truck.
Stevens directed the officer to a pair of marijuana cigarettes, according to the police report, and then sought a way out. He told the officer he played for the Bucs. He asked for a break.
Of course he asked for a break. After all, Stevens' football career proceeded only after authority figures so consistently looked the other way or extended the benefit of the doubt.
The enablement of Jerramy Stevens might have ended last weekend when he was arrested on an allegation of felony drug possession. Stevens was deactivated by Tampa Bay for the game last week, released on Monday and, at the age of 30, he is out of a job and perhaps finally out of chances in the NFL.
He is a product of our state, from high school to college to his first job in the NFL, and at no point did he learn just how fragile a job in professional athletics could be. Quite the opposite. His athletic ability and football potential functioned almost like a trump card.
As a senior at River Ridge High School in Lacey, Stevens faced a felony assault charge that was downgraded to a misdemeanor, which allowed him to keep his football scholarship to Washington.
As a sophomore at Washington, he was arrested for investigation of sexual assault but never charged. He didn't miss a game. As a junior, he was cited for reckless driving after crashing into a retirement home and fleeing the scene. He was benched for one half against Michigan.
Drafted in the first round by his hometown franchise, he was arrested for DUI one year after being selected. He pleaded down to reckless driving, and lost some of his signing bonus, but none of his playing time.
He was arrested in Arizona three years ago and later convicted of extreme DUI.
His blood-alcohol content was measured at twice the legal limit more than two hours after he was pulled over.
He was a free agent at the time, ostensibly looking for a million-dollar job. The arrest cost him money, but not a job. The Bucs signed him to a one-year contract.
If it takes a village to raise a child, there's no shortage of blame to assign for describing how Stevens reached this point. He has a criminal history that spans 12 years and three states and up until last weekend he had missed a total of 10 quarters for disciplinary reasons: the one half against Michigan while he played for the Huskies and two NFL games for the DUI arrest in Arizona.
The consequences of Stevens' actions were consistently minimized, and the result was a professional career that never measured up to the expectations the Seahawks bestowed upon him as a first-round choice in 2002.
After nine NFL seasons, he is about to find out there's an expiration date to the latitude given elite athletes. Teams don't tend to overlook the criminal slip-ups of backup tight ends.
But Stevens never corrected the course of his career, and his arrest Oct. 23 is conspicuous in just how brazen it was. Stevens was in the parking lot of the team hotel when he was pulled over, the police alleging they found 36.6 grams of marijuana, an amount sufficiently large it is considered to be intended for distribution in Florida.
The drugs were in a purple Crown Royal bag that was tucked next to his playbook, according to the police report.
Stevens was arrested, his truck impounded for forfeiture.
Sluckis then did something coaches had so consistently declined to do: He took away Stevens' playbook, returning it to a Bucs security official.
Danny O'Neil: 206-464-2364 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Information in this article, originally published Oct. 30, 2010, was corrected Oct. 31, 2010. A previous version of this story incorrectly stated Jerramy Stevens was benched for one quarter against Idaho for disciplinary reasons. He was in fact benched for a half against Michigan. He suffered an injury against Idaho during his junior season, but was not suspended. Prior to his most recent arrest in Tampa, Fla., Stevens had missed a total of 10 quarters for disciplinary reason, two periods in college and a two-game suspension in the NFL.
About Danny O'Neil
Danny O'Neil will comment on issues, events and personalities in the NFL. His column will appear on Sundays during the regular season. He also posts most days on the Seahawks Blog.
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