We have our first offseason arrest for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Can't make it through a season without some controversy, right? This time, it's Buccaneers defensive end Da'Quan Bowers, who was arrested for illegally carrying a handgun at LaGuardia airport, according to NBC New York. Bowers apparently had a loaded .40 caliber handgun in his carry-on bag. Because we all know that carrying handguns onto airplanes is totally normal, and no NFL players ever get in trouble for that.
Bowers has been charged with second-degree criminal possession of a weapon and will appear in court tomorrow. A quick bit of Googling suggests that Bowers will face a minimum sentence of 3.5 years in prison and a maximum term of 15 years in prison, if convicted of the offense he's charged with. A plea deal or pre-trial intervention could obviously reduce those charges severely, as would being found innocent.
This would be a big blow for the Buccaneers, who could potentially lose starting defensive end Michael Bennett in free agency, while defensive end Adrian Clayborn is still rehabbing a knee injury. Bowers has 4.5 sacks in his two seasons in the league, but was limited by injuries in both of those seasons. He showed a lot of his tremendous athletic potential last season, and was at one point projected to be the first overall pick in the 2011 draft.
Even if Bowers is not jailed for this offense, the NFL could still suspend him. If the Bucs are to miss Bowers for any period of time, they will have to address the defensive end position this offseason. Bowers' arrest may force the Bucs to spend big to keep Michael Bennett in house.