CLEVELAND — Browns nose tackle Shaun Rogers had to forfeit his firearm, but not his freedom.
Cuyahoga County Common Pleas Court judge Eileen Gallagher approved a plea bargain Thursday with Rogers, placing him in a diversion program for up to 12 months that allows him to avoid jail time.
The 31-year-old defensive lineman was facing felony charges after being arrested with a semiautomatic handgun in his carry-on bag as he attempted to board a flight to Houston on April 1.
Under terms of the agreement, Rogers must complete 40 hours of volunteer service, spend 10 hours in a gun safety class, and surrender the weapon that prompted his arrest at Cleveland Hopkins International Airport.
The two-time Pro Bowl selection, who has a license for the gun, will be eligible to attend Browns training camp when it begins July 31. He is, however, facing a likely league suspension as a result of the incident.
“We are reviewing it under our policies,” NFL spokesman Greg Aiello told Cleveland media members.
The Browns did not issue a comment on the legal status of Rogers, who missed the final five games last season after breaking a bone in his left lower leg. The 6-foot-4, 350-pounder had two sacks and 36 tackles before being injured at Cincinnati on Nov. 29.
His agent, Pat D’Angelo, said the 10th-year pro received no preferential treatment from prosecutors. He added that part of Rogers’ community service would be spent helping out a program aimed at reducing truancy in Cleveland schools.
Fellow Browns defensive lineman Robaire Smith remains under indictment for “possession of a firearm in the sterile area of a commercial airport,” which is a misdemeanor in his native Flint, Mich. He faces a maximum sentence of one year in jail.
“The fact is athletes are a target, and they are victimized in some senses and targeted by the criminal element,” D’Angelo said. “Some of them feel that they need to have weapons for their own protection. Those are personal judgments that each individual makes.”
Cribbs stays indoors
Browns return specialist Joshua Cribbs will sign autographs Saturday at the Cleveland Gladiators’ home game against the Oklahoma City Yard Dawgz.
Cribbs will be on the main concourse at Quicken Loans Arena from 6 p.m. until the Arena Football League contest kicks off at 7 p.m.
The first 5,000 fans through the gates will also receive a “Cleveland Pride” poster featuring Cribbs and Browns legend Bernie Kosar, a current adviser with the Gladiators.
Discount tickets from $12-16 in the lower bowl are available at (216) 685-9000 or online at www.clevelandgladiators.com.
Contact Brian Dulik at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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