Chris Hawkins faces drug charges

Updated: September 16, 2010, 7:05 PM ET
By Mark Schlabach | ESPN.com

MADISON, Ga. -- The former North Carolina defensive back who is accused of buying University of Georgia receiver A.J. Green's jersey is facing felony drug charges in Georgia.

Chris Hawkins, who played at North Carolina from 2001-03 before finishing his college career at Marshall, was arrested by Georgia State Patrol officers on April 23, 2009 on felony charges of trafficking cocaine and misdemeanor charges of possession of marijuana.

According to a police report obtained by ESPN.com on Wednesday, Hawkins was pulled over by a Georgia State Patrol officer while driving a U-haul moving truck on I-20 near Madison, Ga., which is about 60 miles east of Atlanta. The report said Hawkins was cited for driving without wearing a seat belt, and officers later discovered a small amount of marijuana in his pocket.

After Hawkins refused to allow officers to search the contents of the moving truck, a drug-detecting dog indicated drugs were in the back of the box truck. According to the police report, officers discovered a paper sack containing a baseball-sized amount of base cocaine, which weighed about three ounces and was covered in peanut butter and pepper.

Hawkins, from Kinston, N.C., spent 20 days in the Morgan County (Ga.) Detention Center until he was released on $50,000 bail. Hawkins is scheduled to appear in Morgan County Superior Court on Oct. 18.

"I'm not involved with any kind of drugs," Hawkins told ESPN's Joe Schad. "Never have in the past and never will be. And no one I'm associated with is involved in any such thing. I'm innocent."

Hawkins' arrest was first reported by the Morgan County (Ga.) Citizen on Wednesday.

Page Pate, Hawkins' Atlanta-based attorney, told ESPN.com on Wednesday that the U-haul truck was rented by former North Carolina and Pittsburgh Steelers running back Willie Parker. Pate said Hawkins, who is Parker's roommate, was delivering furniture from Miami to North Carolina for Parker.

"Parker purchased some furniture out of a condo that was being sold in Miami," Pate said. "He asked Chris to move the furniture after it was loaded into the truck. Chris has continuously maintained that he was unaware there were drugs in the truck."

Ironically, Pate said Parker purchased the furniture from a penthouse in the Fontainebleau hotel in Miami Beach, Fla., which was the site of at least two agent-related parties this past spring. The NCAA is investigating whether North Carolina defensive lineman Marvin Austin and receiver Greg Little violated its rules by attending the parties.

Alabama defensive lineman Marcel Dareus also attended a party at Fontainebleau and was suspended two games by the NCAA. South Carolina tight end Weslye Saunders also is being investigated by NCAA officials for attending the parties.

Saunders was dismissed from the team on Wednesday.

Parker, 29, played six seasons in the NFL before he was cut by the Washington Redskins during training camp. His best season came with the Pittsburgh Steelers in 2006, when he ran for 1,494 yards with 13 touchdowns in 16 games.

Parker is listed as a potential defense witness for Hawkins' upcoming criminal trial, according to court documents.

Last week, the NCAA suspended Green for four games after he sold his Independence Bowl jersey to Hawkins for $1,000. According to UGA officials, Green was introduced to Hawkins by UNC defensive end Robert Quinn, and Hawkins agreed to buy Green's jersey after the men exchanged messages on Facebook.

Georgia officials said Green never had a face-to-face meeting with Green. Georgia officials were unaware of Hawkins' upcoming criminal trial when reached by ESPN.com on Wednesday.

Georgia officials are hoping the NCAA will reduce Green's four-game suspension, which would require him to miss Saturday's home against No. 12 Arkansas at Sanford Stadium and next week's game at Mississippi State.

Georgia officials hoped to have Green's hearing with the NCAA's Division I Committee on Student-Athlete Reinstatement on Wednesday, but a UGA official told ESPN.com that the hearing was postponed until Friday.

Last week, Hawkins told ESPN's Joe Schad that he purchased Green's jersey because he collects them and didn't realize it was an NCAA violation. Nonetheless, the NCAA ruled Hawkins qualifies as an agent and is looking into his relationship with at least two other agents, Peter Schaffer of All Pro Sports & Entertainment in Denver and Kevin Conner of Universal Sports Management in Atlanta.

The NCAA also is investigating whether Hawkins arranged for the players to make trips to Atlanta and Las Vegas to meet with potential agents. The source said Green didn't attend the agent-related trips.

Schaefer, in a phone conversation Thursday, denied that the NCAA is looking into his relationship with Hawkins. Last week, he told ESPN.com that Hawkins never asked him to do anything to violate NCAA rules.

"I do not have a relationship of any kind with Mr. Hawkins," Conner said in a statement e-mailed to ESPN.com on Thursday. "In no way is Mr. Hawkins affiliated with me or Universal Sports Management, Inc. I have not been contacted by the NCAA or any other organization in regards to any investigation, and I have never received any correspondence from the NCAA."

"I didn't come at A.J. like a marketer or an agent," Hawkins told Schad. "I'm not an agent. I talked to him about 'Good game this' and 'Good game that.' I wanted the jersey because I collect jerseys."

A UNC official told ESPN.com last week that Hawkins has frequently visited North Carolina's football facility during the past few years, including a visit this summer in which he worked out with Parker in the team's weight room. The school official said Hawkins often described himself as Parker's manager.

The Tar Heels suspended 13 players from playing in their 30-24 loss to LSU in the Chick-fil-A Kickoff Game in the Sept. 4 opener. Seven starters were suspended, including Austin and Quinn, while the NCAA investigated allegations of improper contact with agents and academic fraud.

The NCAA reinstated Tar Heels running back Shaun Draughn, but the availability of the other 12 suspended players for Saturday's home game against Georgia Tech remains in question.

Mark Schlabach is a college football reporter for ESPN.com.

Mark Schlabach | email

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