Apologetic Rogers faces felony charge
CLEVELAND -- Cleveland Browns nose tackle Shaun Rogers apologized to his fans and his team on Friday, saying he didn't intend to carry a loaded gun in his luggage as he tried to pass through airport security.
Rogers, arguably the Browns' best player, plans to plead not guilty to a concealed weapons charge, his lawyer said.
A prosecutor filed the fourth-degree felony charge alleging Rogers carried a .45-caliber Kimber semiautomatic with eight rounds in his carry-on luggage at Cleveland Hopkins International Airport. A police report said the gun's hammer was cocked in safe mode.
Rogers, 31, posted bond of $1,000 after spending a night in jail following his Thursday arrest. Defense attorney Patrick D'Angelo said Rogers would be in court Saturday morning to enter a not guilty plea and waive a preliminary hearing.
Rogers told reporters he didn't mean to take the gun into the airport and was sorry. He apologized to his family and fans and to the Browns.
"By no means did I intend or willingly or knowingly take a firearm into the airport," he said. "That's not something I would do."
After participating in the Browns' voluntary offseason program, Rogers was on his way back home to Houston to spend Easter with his family when police say he was stopped with the weapon. Police say he was traveling with teammate Robaire Smith.
Rogers told officers that he had forgotten the gun was in his bag and that he carried it for personal safety during travel. Police say Rogers has a license in Michigan to carry a concealed weapon.
When reporters asked Rogers on Friday why he needed a weapon, D'Angelo answered that it wasn't a fair question because Rogers has a license to carry a firearm.
Rogers has been traveling between Detroit and Cleveland regularly while he tries to sell a home in Michigan.
"I'm truly remorseful, and I really can't put into words how unfortunate the incident is," Rogers said. "Again, I'm completely sorry."
The arrest could put Rogers' future with the Browns in jeopardy. Team president Mike Holmgren issued a statement Thursday saying that the club was aware of "what transpired with Shaun Rogers" and that it would reserve comment "until the legal process has taken its course."
D'Angelo said he wants to try to resolve the criminal matter by discussing it with a prosecutor, but he did not elaborate.
The office of Cuyahoga County prosecutor Bill Mason, which handles felonies, will review the case to see how to proceed, spokesman Ryan Miday said.
Rogers was booked by police on a third-degree felony, a local practice allowing officers to hold him for investigation, but prosecutors decide what charge gets filed in court. A third-degree felony carries a possible five-year prison term, a fourth-degree felony up to 18 months.
Even if Rogers is not convicted, he could face suspension from the league for violating its strict personal-conduct policy for players. He was suspended for four games in 2006 while with Detroit for violating the substance abuse policy.
A three-time Pro Bowl selection, Rogers, who missed Cleveland's final five games last season with a broken leg, has been the subject of previous trade rumors.
The 6-foot-4, 350-pound Rogers was selected to the Pro Bowl after his first season with Cleveland, which acquired him in a 2008 trade with the Lions. He is signed through 2013.
Copyright 2010 by The Associated Press
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