After allegedly participating in a drug trafficking crime fouryears ago, Baltimore Ravens running back Jamal Lewis pleaded guiltyto a drug offense in a federal court in AtlantaThursday, according to the WashingtonPost.
“I made a mistake four years ago, when I was20 years old, that I am paying heavily for,” Lewis saidoutside of the courthouse, according to an Associated Pressreport.
“Paying heavily” could boil down to atwo-game NFL suspension without pay, a fine totaling approximately$760,000, four months imprisonment in a minimum security prison,two months in a halfway house and 500 hours of community service.And Judge Orinda Evans scheduled the sentencing date for Jan. 26,which is the climax of this year’s playoffs.
Paul Tagliabue, NFL Commissioner, has yet toapprove the proposed penalties, but Washington Post sources saidthe chances of the game suspension increasing are”slim.” The league is expected to announce thesuspension Friday.
Lewis has five days to appeal the league’ssuspension, which makes him eligible to play in Sunday’s gameagainst the Washington Redskins. On the other hand, he could opt tobegin the suspension immediately, which would cause him to missplaying this week and Oct. 24 against Buffalo.
The 25-year-old running back pleaded guilty tousing a cell phone in violation of federal law to facilitate a drugtransaction.
According to the league’s drug policy, aplayer is subject to discipline including suspension without payfor four games for the first drug-related violation of law. Theextenuating circumstances point to the fact that the incidentoccurred during the summer of 2000, when Lewis had been drafted,but had not signed a contract.