While NFL players such as Ray Lewis, Darrell Russell and Jim Dunaway were accused of committing some pretty heinous crimes, they were never convicted of them. However, not all NFL players were as fortunate as those three, since dozens of them have been charged with and convicted of a wide variety of crimes. These range from speeding tickets and drinking and driving charges to drug trafficking, sexual assault, armed robbery, kidnapping, murder, and serial killing.
Like all other walks of life, playing for an NFL team is a job or career. This means there will always be some bad apples among the bunch, just like any other profession. However, it’s usually hard for people to wrap their head around the fact that famous, well-paid athletes would jeopardize everything they’ve worked for by committing crimes. It appears that no matter how much money somebody may have, there’s a stronger motive at play when a crime takes place.
The list of current and former NFL players who have served or are serving jail time would definitely be longer if they hadn’t settled out of court though. This is often where their money can be swapped for their freedom. In addition, players found guilty of using drugs are often just suspended, fined, sent to rehab or released by their teams. This list of 15 NFL players who went to jail consists of some well known football stars and some you may have never heard of. Their sentences range from just a couple of years to life in prison with no parole. Perhaps the only thing they have in common is they were all NFL players at one point in their lives and have all been convicted and sent to prison for their actions.
16 Robert Rozier
Rozier, who also went by the alias Robert Ramses, played just half a dozen games in the NFL in 1979 when the St. Louis Cardinals released him as they suspected he was using drugs. Rozier ended up in Canada with the CFL for a year and served six months in jail for petty crime. He then joined up with a black supremacist religious cult called The Brotherhood in 1985. Rozier was told he had to kill a white devil and produce a body part to earn full membership. He was charged with murder in October of 1986 and admitted to killing seven people.
15 Dwayne Goodrich
14 Travis Henry
13 Thomas “Hollywood” Henderson
Henderson was a linebacker with the Dallas Cowboys between 1975 and 1980 and had played on a Super-Bowl winner and in a Pro Bowl game. He was released by Dallas and joined the Houston Oilers for six games before retiring in 1981 due to an injury he suffered while playing for the Miami Dolphins in the preseason. Henderson admitted to drug and alcohol problems as a player.
12 Michael Vick
11 Darryl Henley
10 Tommy Kane
9 David Meggett
8 Lawrence Phillips
7 Ryan Leaf
6 Cecil J. P. Collins
5 Rae Carruth
4 Keith Wright
3 Eric Naposki
2 Aaron Hernandez
Aaron Hernandez is the most recent addition to this list as he was sentenced in April of this year for first-degree murder. The former tight end of the New England Patriots was charged with killing Odin Lloyd in 2013. Lloyd was the boyfriend of Hernandez’s fiancée’s sister. Hernandez and a couple of accomplices picked the victim up at home and took him to an industrial park where he was shot half a dozen times. No murder weapon, witness, or motive was presented during the trial, but the jury was still given enough evidence to convict Hernandez.
1 O.J. Simpson
Former NFL star running back O.J. Simpson is definitely the most recognizable name on this list. Simpson played from with the Buffalo Bills and the San Francisco 49ers between 1969 and 1979 and made the headlines in 1994 when he was arrested for kidnapping and killing his ex-wife Nicole Brown Simpson and her friend Ronald Goldman. The subsequent car chase and trial was broadcast across the nation, but the former Heisman Trophy winner was found not guilty in October 1995. However, in a later trial in 1997, a civil court ordered Simpson to pay $33.5 million for the wrongful stabbing deaths of his ex-wife and Goldman.
Many people believe he got off scot-free with double homicide and then got his just desserts in September 2007 when he was charged with several felonies including armed robbery and kidnapping due to an incident involving guns at a Las Vegas hotel. He was found guilty the next year and handed a 33-year sentence with no parole for at least nine years. Since Simpson was acquitted in the deaths of his ex-wife and Goldman, many people aren’t surprised the case remains unsolved.
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