The NFL’s worst week ever for off-field issues started with the release of the second Ray Rice video that left Commissioner Roger Goodell’s competency and/or integrity in question. The week ended with the indictment and arrest of Adrian Peterson on child abuse charges. With so many issues swirling at once, there is a tendency to judge the entire league as criminals.
As in many cases the sins of a few reflect poorly on the many. For some teams in the NFL, arrests are few and far between. In an attempt to speak to something positive, the list below contains the eight teams with the fewest incidences since 2000, when USA Today began tracking such data. This is a category that being in last actually makes you first.
Houston Texans* – 11
Congratulations Texans fans your team is in a three-way tie for the fewest arrests. There is an asterisk since the team came into the NFL in 2002, but the total of 11 arrests is 11 below the league average. Four of the arrests resulted in charges being dropped and one to an acquittal. The one case of domestic violence was one of the cases where charges were dropped. Brandon Walker owns two arrests. He was subsequently released by the team two days after the second. Four of the remaining arrests where alcohol or drug related and the last was a simple assault charge filed against Vonta Leach for an alleged confrontation near his hometown in June 2009. Leach’s arrest is the last record of unlawful activity beyond traffic violations of any Houston Texans player.
St. Louis Rams – 11
Aside from not being the home team, St. Louis does not get top billing because the team’s 11th arrest was in July of this year. The Rams had four DUIs and a drug charge among their 11 arrests, but two domestic violence cases in 2007.
Arizona Cardinals – 11
The Cardinals offenses are divided mostly between DUIs, domestic violence, and drug charges. Two of the domestic violence arrests were within a span of two weeks to Michael Pittman. Pittman received a diversion program and anger management classes.
Philadelphia Eagles – 13
After examining the list of 13 for the Eagles, it is understandable that Philadelphia was open to taking the first chance on Michael Vick. Long before Vick arrived, three separate cases involved animal abuse. One of which was for abandoning a puppy three days after purchase because the dog was more trouble than expected. The Eagles may win for the most uncommon charges. The rap sheet includes drag racing, reckless endangerment after falsely reporting a fire in a hotel, disorderly conduct for dancing in the street in Miami, disturbing the peace with loud music, and another disorderly conduct for driving onto an arena sidewalk. Each of these were either dismissed or adjudicated by paying court costs.
New York Jets – 14
The Jets may be only one arrest ahead of the Eagles, but their player’s charges carry greater severity. John Abraham becomes the first player on this list with two different teams. He received a 2003 DUI while he played for the Jets and was arrested this summer for the same charge while with the Cardinals (bringing their number of team arrests to 11). Quincy Enunwa has actually benefited from the NFL’s woeful week because he too was arrested on domestic violence charges, but his September 4 booking has been lost in the shuffle. Bryan Thomas faced the same charges in 2012. He received probation and pretrial intervention similar to Ray Rice as his punishment from the state of New Jersey.
New York Giants -14
They share a building and a spot on the list with the Jets, but the Giants have dealt with the worst case that is, surprisingly, not being talked about. In May of 2001, Jeremiah Parker was accused of child abuse in the case of his girlfriend’s 4-year-old son, who was shaken unconscious and later died. The boy’s mother was also accused. Parker was convicted of endangering a child, acquitted of manslaughter, and sentenced to 10 years in prison. Perhaps the most well-known of the Giants’ arrests is that of Plaxico Burris, who served jail time after he shot himself in a New York night club. Lesser charges include Danny Ware who was charged with being a pedestrian under the influence while walking down the street in Athens, Georgia. Frank Walker was arrested for possessing a stolen vehicle, but the charges were dropped because as it turns out, it was just a misunderstanding.
Dallas Cowboys – 14
Two of the Cowboys charges were manslaughter as a result of drunk driving. Dwayne Goodrich was sentenced to 7.5 years after his conviction and was released in 2011. More recently, Josh Brent was sentenced to 180 days in jail and 10 years probation after being charged with DUI in the wreck that killed teammate Jerry Brown. He will be eligible to return to the Cowboys in week 11 this year.
New England Patriots – 15
Aaron Hernandez headlines the Patriots 15 arrests, but he is joined by three domestic violence and three assault cases. As often happens in domestic violence cases, two of the three charges were dropped.
The above charges range from horrific to comical, and if nothing else remind us that each case must be judged on its merit. If you were wondering, the top three teams come in at 44, 43, and 40 arrests from January 2000 to September 2014. Those teams are Minnesota, Cincinnati, and Denver respectively.
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