Ravens' Sams is charged with DUI

Second arrest could bring suspension of NFL's No. 2 returner

October 04, 2006|By Jamison Hensley | Jamison Hensley,Sun Reporter

Ravens return specialist B.J. Sams was arrested and charged with driving under the influence early yesterday morning.

This marks the second time in 14 months that he has been charged with drunken driving, which could result in a fine or suspension from the NFL.

Sams was stopped shortly before 2 a.m. on the outer loop of Interstate 695 near Greenspring Avenue in Baltimore County, after his Chevrolet Tahoe had reportedly been swerving and nearly struck a vehicle on the northbound Jones Falls Expressway near Ruxton Road, Maryland State Police said.

The trooper reported a strong odor of alcohol, and after further investigation, Sams was arrested and charged with driving under the influence.

It is unknown whether Sams was placed in the NFL's substance-abuse program after his first arrest. A player's status in the program is strictly confidential unless the NFL announces a player's suspension.

A second violation could result in a four-game suspension, according to the league substance-abuse policy. The decision is based on a review by the NFL commissioner.

The Ravens, whose players were given off yesterday and today, would not comment on whether Sams is subject to a suspension.

"We're aware of the situation and we have talked to B.J," team spokesman Kevin Byrne said. "We will now let due process take its course."

Sams, 25, who was driving alone, was later picked up from the Golden Ring police barracks. Police would not specify whether Sams took a Breathalyzer test.

It was just more than a year ago when Sams was arrested in the same area. In August 2005, Sams was clocked going 89 mph in a 55-mph zone on northbound I-83 and was charged with driving under the influence, negligent driving and speeding.

Sams was given probation before judgment for driving a vehicle while impaired. He never publicly talked about his arrest.

In his third season with the Ravens, Sams ranks second in the league in kickoff returns (30.9-yard average) and ninth in punt returns (10.8).

Other return possibilities for the Ravens include rookie running back Cory Ross and wide receiver Mark Clayton.

Sams joined the Ravens in 2004 as an undrafted rookie and immediately made an impact on special teams. He set a franchise single-season record that season with 1,826 combined return yards and returned two punts for touchdowns, which tied for the league lead.


Sun reporter Richard Irwin contributed to this article.

NFL Policy

Excerpt from the NFL's policy and program for substances of abuse:

Alcohol-related offenses / /The Commissioner will review and may impose a fine, suspension or other appropriate discipline if a player is convicted of or admits to a violation of the law (including within the context of a diversionary program, deferred adjudication, disposition of supervision, or similar arrangement including but not limited to nolo contendere) relating to the use of alcohol. Absent aggravating circumstances, discipline for a first offense will generally be a fine of one-half (1/2) of one-seventeenth (1/17) of the amount in Paragraph 5 of the NFL Player Contract to a maximum of $20,000. If the Commissioner finds that there were aggravating circumstances, including but not limited to felonious conduct or serious injury or death of third parties, and/or if the player has had prior drug- or alcohol-related misconduct, increased discipline up to and including suspension may be imposed. Discipline for a second or subsequent offense is likely to be a suspension, the duration of which may escalate for repeat offenses.

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