Commentary | NFL teams spend July hoping nobody gets arrested

June 23, 2013 

This is the time of year that tests the heart and soul of every NFL coach.

The Ides of July are upon us, and that historically means police blotters around the country will be filling up with NFL names.

For coaches, it's more nerve-wracking than game planning for an Aaron Rodgers or Drew Brees because at least there you have an idea what's going to happen.

The arrest season starts in June when minicamps end, but July is officially handcuff month for the NFL.

Most training camps open up the last week of July, and many players see now as the last opportunity to get in some fun.

In July 2012, there were 11 NFL players arrested, according to data bases provided by Pro Football Talk and the San Diego Union Tribune.

There have already been two June arrests,

and it appears Aaron Hernandez is going to get the arrest season off to a rousing start soon when he is charged with obstruction of justice in a murder case.

Now you know the real value of those OTAs.

The NFL tries to educate players and put out the red flags, but it's impossible to reach everyone.

In April 2012, Minnesota's Caleb King was arrested for allegedly fracturing a man's skull because the man said King looked like comedian Eddie Murphy.

Minnesota cut King. The Vikings weren't taking any chances because the franchise has never forgotten the 2005 arrest of running back Onterrio Smith. He was taken into custody in an airport for carrying what was called a Whizzinator, which is said to be a kit that turns dried urine into liquid urine and enable users to pass drug tests.

Smith reportedly failed three NFL drug tests and never returned to the NFL after being suspended in 2005 for violating the league's substance abuse policy.

DUIs, drug use and violence are the main reasons for the NFL arrests. When you break down the stats by position, the dilemma looks preventable.

It probably doesn't surprise anyone that since 2011 through this month, wide receivers have been arrested 21 times to lead the pack, barely ahead of linebackers (20). There have been 15 cornerbacks and 15 running backs arrested.

Quarterback, the position that demands leadership and model citizenship, has had only one arrest since January '11. There have not been any offensive guards arrested, only one center and seven offensive tackles, which might say something about the argument that the smartest people on a football field are the quarterbacks and offensive linemen, particularly the center and guards.

Multiple arrests usually mean a bad season.

In 2011, the Detroit Lions had only one arrest and went 10-6 for their first winning season in 11 years. Last year, they had seven arrests and saw their record plummet to 4-12.

Minnesota had seven players arrested during its dismal 3-13 season in 2011, cut that number down to three while dumping King and made the playoffs last season. One of those arrests (Adrian Peterson) was a misdemeanor in a questionable resisting arrest charge at a nightclub.

The only NFL team that did not have a player arrested since 2011 is Houston, and it might be a surprise to some that Baltimore and New Orleans have had only one player arrested during that stretch.

Some might argue the city a team plays in has a lot to do with arrests records. If true, it's a tribute to the San Diego Chargers.

San Diego led the country in DUI arrests from November 2010 through October 2011, according to insurance.com data, but the Charges haven't had a player arrested since 2011.

Indianapolis, which went from a 2-14 record in 2011 to making the playoffs last year (11-5), had only one arrest (March 2012) in center Samson Satele.

Since 2000, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers are eighth with 26 arrests. Minnesota tops the list with 40, followed by Cincinnati (39), Denver (35), Tennessee (32), Jacksonville (28), Miami (28) and Kansas City (27).

The Tampa Bay's worst moment came in June 2011, when a luxury suite manager was arrested in a predator sex-sting operation and sentenced to 10 years in federal prison.

Greg Schiano brought a no-nonsense demeanor when he took over Tampa Bay last year, but the Bucs have had five arrests since last July, and all the players involved are still on the roster.

Leading the way was oft-injured Cody Grimm, who has been arrested twice for public intoxication since March. Da'Quan Bowers' arrest for having a gun at LaGuardia airport and Ahmad Black's arrest for marijuana possession belong in the brain-dead decision-making department.

Eric Wright is a case by himself. The defensive back, who has been dodging police blotters and law enforcement officials since his college days, had a DUI arrest last summer and a suspension for drug use.

He is the Bucs' biggest embarrassment waiting to happen.

Alan Dell, Herald sports writer, can be reached at 941-745-7080, ext. 2112. Follow him on Twitter at @ADellSports.

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