Eagles' Gaffney faces handgun possession charge

Updated: July 28, 2006, 3:51 PM ET
Associated Press

PHILADELPHIA -- Philadelphia Eagles wide receiver Jabar Gaffney was arrested and charged with unlawful possession of a handgun following a traffic stop last month, New Jersey county prosecutors said Friday.

Gaffney had a permit to carry the weapon in Texas, but not in New Jersey, Camden County prosecutors said. The charge carries a maximum five-year sentence but most first-time offenders get no jail time.

Gaffney, 25, was stopped on June 20 by police for driving erratically on the Walt Whitman Bridge, which connects Philadelphia and New Jersey. As Gaffney was reaching into the glove compartment, the officer saw the handgun, a loaded .380 semiautomatic that was registered to another person riding in the car.

Gaffney showed the officer his concealed-weapon license, but he was charged and released on his own recognizance.

Gaffney's attorney, Robert A. Greenberg, said the Philadelphia receiver will apply for a first-time offenders program in which the charges would eventually be dismissed.

"At the time that this happened, he had laid his head down to sleep in New Jersey maybe four or five nights, total," Greenberg said. "It's just a very unfortunate set of circumstances."

Eagles coach Andy Reid said the charges were the result of a misunderstanding.

"He had the gun registered in the state of Texas, he thought it was fine on his move up here," Reid said. "Jabar is not the kind of guy I'm too worried about. He's a pretty straight shooter. ... No pun intended there."

Gaffney signed as a free agent with the Eagles in the offseason following four seasons with the Houston Texans. Originally a second-round draft pick out of Florida in 2002, Gaffney has 171 career catches for 2,009 yards and seven touchdowns. He signed a one-year deal with the Eagles in March.

Copyright 2006 by The Associated Press