Buckhalter: Not involved with Pa. dealer
ENGLEWOOD, Colo. -- Correll Buckhalter denies he was involved with an alleged drug dealer who is on trial in Pennsylvania, according to his agent.
A suburban Philadelphia prosecutor said Wednesday that an alleged drug dealer told police he sold drugs to athletes including Buckhalter, a running back who signed with the Denver Broncos last month after eight seasons with the Philadelphia Eagles.
"First of all, this news caught both Correll and me by surprise this morning," agent J.R. Rickert told The Associated Press. "When I found out, I talked to Correll, who said to me there is absolutely no validity to the allegation that was made. He did not purchase drugs from this individual or speak to this individual on the phone."
Buckhalter signed a four-year, $10 million contract with the Broncos last month.
Delaware County Deputy District Attorney Katayoun Copeland told a jury Wednesday that 36-year-old Styles N. Beckles, of Clifton Heights, Pa., told officers he provided drugs to Buckhalter, according to The Philadelphia Inquirer, which is covering the trial.
Neither Buckhalter nor any other athletes have been charged.
Court documents say Beckles had 115 vials of marijuana in his car when he was arrested and nearly 500 more in his home.
Broncos spokesman Patrick Smyth said the team was aware of the allegation concerning its new running back but had no comment.
Buckhalter's agent said: "My concern with a situation like this is we're not there to ask questions or dive into the allegations. We can't bring out things that might call into question the credibility of the information. This thing gets a life of its own because an individual says this on the stand."
Buckhalter, who backed up Brian Westbrook in Philadelphia, will get a chance to start in Denver, although competition could be stiff. Holdovers Peyton Hillis and Ryan Torain are regaining their health and LaMont Jordan is another free agent newcomer vying for a larger role with the Broncos.
Rickert said he hopes Buckhalter isn't harmed by the drug allegation.
"I've got to go by everything I know about Correll Buckhalter as a person," Rickert said, "and all I can tell you is he's always conducted himself and carried himself as a professional. He's well aware of the NFL's personal conduct policy. He has respect for the league and the rules. And he's going to continue to carry on that way."
Buckhalter, who is in Denver for the Broncos' offseason training program, wants to sit down and tell coach Josh McDaniels and his staff that "this is not an accurate allegation," Rickert said.
"He's eager to sit down with the coaches and explain to them that this is not something he's associated with," Rickert said.
McDaniels is knee-deep in another controversy, the one involving his recalcitrant Pro Bowl quarterback, Jay Cutler, who is seeking a trade in a snit that resulted from McDaniels listening to offers for him two weeks ago in efforts to bring his protege, Matt Cassel to Denver. Cassel instead was traded to Kansas City.
The Broncos are also bracing for a possible lengthy suspension for Pro Bowl receiver Brandon Marshall, who was arrested after getting into a fight with his fiance in Atlanta even though charges were dismissed. He was suspended for the opener last year for repeated domestic incidents with a former girlfriend.
The Broncos are no strangers to marijuana troubles with their running backs.
Mike Anderson was suspended for a month after a positive test for marijuana in 2003, which he blamed on inhaling second-hand smoke. Travis Henry tested positive for marijuana in 2007 but successfully sued the NFL to avoid a one-year suspension. He was jettisoned from the team last summer, however, and faces federal charges in a cocaine bust Sept. 30 in Colorado.
Copyright 2009 by The Associated Press
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