It wouldn't be an off-season without a few NFL players getting in trouble, and one of the first to find themselves on the wrong side of the law was Buccaneers' defensive tackle Akeem Spence. Spence was arrested on January 14th for possession of marijuana after being caught speeding over 100mph in Alabama.
Spence had been relatively active on Twitter, but hadn't tweeted since the arrest. This morning, he broke radio silence to tweet out a short statement-cum-apology for his actions:
"I want to apologize to my teammates coaches and also the buccaneer organization and to my family ,fans and friends for my action they were completely out of line something that should have never happen I look to get this issue resolved and push past it and get ready for the 2014 season ..thank you" [sic]
Under the CBA (Article 42 Section 6 for those interested), an individual club cannot impose discipline on a player for violation of the league's Policy & Program on Substances of Abuse - but that doesn't necessarily mean that Spence will escape scot-free. According to that Policy, if Spence is convicted on the misdemeanor of possession, then he could be subject to discipline up to and including a four-game fine at the discretion of the Commissioner, even for a first offense.
Spence stepped into the 1-tech position left vacant after the team chose not to re-sign Roy Miller. While not as staunch against the run as Miller, Spence played solidly, and showed more potential as a threat against the pass than Miller had done. Still, the fourth-round rookie's play hardly made him irreplaceable, so if he is convicted of possession and the league office does impose the maximum penalty, there should be enough players floating about to be able to fill Spence's role in the short term.
Per the Tampa Bay Times' Greg Auman, Spence is due in court on March 3.