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Akeem Spence set for pre-trial agreement on marijuana charge

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Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

Akeem Spence had a court date in Alabama today related to a January incident, when the second-year defensive tackle was stopped for speeding and was found to be in possession of marijuana. According to Greg Auman, Spence's attorneys had the case continued with no new date set. Auman notes that should give them time to arrange a pre-trial agreement.

While this means Spence will likely evade (serious) legal repercussions for his misdemeanor charge, that doesn't mean he's off the hook where the NFL is concerned. The NFL usually waits for the legal process to play itself out before imposing its own discipline, but marijuana possession falls under the substance abuse policy.

If this is Spence's first violation of the substance abuse program, he will merely be placed in it and tested more frequently. If, however, he has previously violated the policy a four-game suspension could be waiting for him. Violations are not disclosed unless public discipline is imposed.

Spence was a promising if inconsistent run-stuffing nose tackle last year, but is likely to see his workload decreased this year as the Bucs move to a system that emphasizes pass-rush ability, even at the nose tackle position. While Spence is likely to see some playing time still, free agent addition Clinton McDonald seems likely to take over as the main nose tackle.