Key Takeaways:

  • The NFL faces significant off-field issues, including 31 player arrests in 2015 alone, ranging from domestic violence to DUIs.
  • Deflategate served as a distraction from the real legal troubles plaguing the league, with a focus shifting away from players’ misconduct.
  • Despite high-profile cases, many NFL players’ transgressions remain underreported, with the league often prioritizing its image over disciplining individuals.
  • The continuous cycle of player misconduct and minimal league action underscores the complex relationship between sports fame, legal issues, and accountability.

Top 27 Current NFL Players with Felonies (Short Version)

  1. Jared Allen – Arrested twice for DUI.
  2. Jonathan Babineaux – Faced drug and animal abuse charges.
  3. Khalif Barnes – Arrested for reckless driving and DUI.
  4. Ahmad Bradshaw – Arrested for drug possession and probation violation.
  5. Kenny Britt – Has multiple arrests including for DUI, drugs, and theft.
  6. Marcell Dareus – Faced reckless driving and drug charges.
  7. Elvis Dumervil – Arrested for assault/battery and weapons charges.
  8. Nick Fairley – Arrested for DUI and drugs.
  9. Everson Griffen – Arrested for assault/battery and alcohol-related offenses.
  10. Vincent Jackson – Arrested three times, including for DUI.
  11. Sebastian Janikowski – Faced assault/battery, alcohol, DUI, and drug charges.
  12. Adam Jones – Multiple arrests, including for assault/battery and drugs.
  13. Marshawn Lynch – Arrested for DUI, weapons, drugs, and reckless driving.
  14. Brandon Marshall – Arrested for domestic violence, DUI, and disorderly conduct.
  15. Rey Maualuga – Charged with assault/battery and DUI.
  16. Rolando McClain – Arrests include disorderly conduct and assault/battery.
  17. Von Miller – Faced license violation and failure to appear charges.
  18. William Moore – Arrested for domestic violence and traffic/license violation.
  19. Adrian Peterson – Arrested for resisting arrest and child abuse.
  20. Matt Prater – Arrested twice for DUI.
  21. Joseph Randle – Faced drugs and theft charges.
  22. Jerome Simpson – Arrested for drugs and DUI.
  23. Aldon Smith – Multiple arrests including for DUI, disorderly conduct, weapons, and drugs.
  24. Aqib Talib – Faced guns/weapons and assault/battery charges.
  25. Donte Whitner – Arrested for disorderly conduct and harassment.
  26. Charles Woodson – Arrested for alcohol-related offenses and DUI.
  27. Michael Vick – Involved in an illegal dogfighting ring and trespassing.

NFL Players Arrested? Is That a Common Thing?

With football action officially back, the NFL would love nothing more than to sweep all the off-field issues of its players under the rug and lure the focus of fans back to the gridiron. And frankly, after an offseason full of mind-numbing Deflategate coverage, so would we.

However, if there was one thing Deflategate accomplished, it was drawing the media’s attention away from the all the real legal troubles NFL players ran into. And boy, was there a lot of that.

In 2015 alone, there have been 31 NFL players arrested, including six instances of domestic violence, five DUIs, three guns/weapons charges, and one shocking case of animal abuse, which featured former Falcons linebacker Prince Shembo killing his ex-girlfriend’s five-pound dog out of “self-defense.”

Atlanta released Shembo once the story broke, but now that he’s taken a plea deal, the Falcons are considering bringing him back.

Keep in mind that when Shembo was a student at Notre Dame, he also allegedly sexually assaulted a student at nearby St. Mary’s College who killed herself two weeks after the incident.

So, forgive us if we think that crime in the NFL hasn’t quite gotten the coverage it’s deserved this year.

According to the USA Today database used to create our interactive NFL Arrests topic, 132 NFL players have been arrested multiple times since 2000. Aldon Smith became the latest player to add to his criminal record in late August, when he was arrested on his third DUI charge.

While some of these are more serious than others, it’s still difficult to comprehend why these millionaires would compromise their lucrative careers by breaking the law multiple times.

Then again, while the NFL is worried about how inflated its balls are, many of these players go unpunished by the league for their transgressions.

We’ll go through each player in alphabetical order, which means we’re starting with one of the most accomplished defensive ends of this century.

Note: Not every arrest listed in this article led to a conviction.

#27. Jared Allen

Arrests: 2

Classifications: DUI (2)

Description 1: Accused of second drunken-driving incident in five months. Also charged with speeding.

Description 2: Pulled over for speeding, accused of drunk driving in Overland Park, Kansas.

Allen served a two-game suspension for these arrests, which both occurred in 2006.

#26. Jonathan Babineaux

Arrests: 2

Classifications: Drugs, Animal Abuse

Description 1: Pulled over for a traffic violation in Gwinnett County, Ga., accused of marijuana possession.

Description 2: Accused of killing girlfriend’s pit bull in Georgia (later acquitted on grounds of self-defense).

#25. Khalif Barnes

Ben Margot/Associated Press

Arrests: 2

Classifications: Reckless Driving, DUI

Description 1: Police say he drove through a yard and crashed his Mercedes into a tree, then fled the scene. Charged with violating DUI probation.

Description 2: After being pulled over, he accused police officer of racism and called Jacksonville a hick town. Accused of drunken driving, he later apologized, pleaded no contest and received six months probation, 50 hours community service, $650 fines and costs.

#24. Ahmad Bradshaw

Arrests: 2

Classifications: Drugs, Probation Violation

Description 1: Pulled over in Preble County, Ohio, for traffic violation, accused of marijuana possession.

Description 2: Undisclosed probation violation stemming from undisclosed incident when he was a juvenile.

Bradshaw is the only player in this article not currently on a 53-man roster, but he is expected to be signed by a team once he fully recovers from a broken fibula and serves a one-game suspension related to his marijuana arrest.

#23. Kenny Britt

Arrests: 7

Classifications: License/Traffic Violation (3), Theft, Drugs, DUI, Reckless Driving

Description 1: Charged with drunken driving after trying to pass through security gate at Fort Campbell Army post in Kentucky.

Description 2: Turned himself in on two outstanding warrants that say he provided inaccurate information on driver’s license applications.

Description 3: Accused of resisting arrest in New Jersey after police suspected him of trying to hide a marijuana cigar.

Description 4: Accused of eluding police with car chase in his hometown of Bayonne, N.J., speeding and obstruction.

Description 5: Accused of theft by deception after allegedly not paying two bail bonds companies in New Jersey on behalf of his friend.

Description 6: Pulled over in Nashville for windows in Camaro tinted too dark, then cited for misdemeanor driving without a valid license.

Description 7: Pulled over in Glen Ridge., N.J., and had three outstanding traffic warrants.

#22. Marcell Dareus

Arrests: 2

Classifications: Reckless Driving, Drugs

Description 1: Accused of crashing his Jaguar into a tree, drag racing and reckless endangerment in upstate New York.

Description 2: Pulled over for speeding in Alabama, accused of felony drug possession.

#21. Elvis Dumervil

Wikipedia Commons

Arrests: 2

Classifications: Assault/Battery (2), Guns/Weapons

Description 1: Accused of aggravated assault with a firearm in Miami after allegedly lifting his shirt to show a gun to a motorist.

Description 2: Cited for assault, disturbing the peace after alleged altercation with parking lot attendant at Invesco Field after he forgot his credentials.

#20. Nick Fairley

Arrests: 2

Classifications: DUI, Drugs

Description 1: Arrested on DUI charge and eluding police in Mobile, Ala., after being pulled over for going 100 mph.

Description 2: Pulled over in Mobile, Ala., charged with marijuana possession after police found marijuna cigarettes. Charge dropped after he passed drug test.

#19. Everson Griffen

Arrests: 2

Classifications: Assault/Battery, Alcohol

Description 1: Pulled over near USC campus, subdued by Taser after allegedly assaulting officer during traffic stop.

Description 2: Accused of being drunk in public in Hollywood, Calif.

These arrests were two days apart from each other in late January 2011 in Los Angeles.

#18. Vincent Jackson

Arrests: 3

Classifications: DUI (2), License violation

Description 1: Pulled over for playing loud music, cited for driving with a suspended license and expired tags.

Description 2: Pulled over for speeding and weaving, failed sobriety tests in San Diego, accused of drunken driving in 2008 GMC Sierra.

Description 3: Pulled over in San Diego, charged with drunk driving. Blood-alcohol measured at .13.

#17. Sebastian Janikowski

Gerald Herbert/Associated Press

Arrests: 3

Classifications: Assault/Battery, Alcohol, DUI, Drugs

Description 1: Accused of misdemeanor assault, vandalism and public drunkenness after fight at supper club in Walnut Creek, Calif.

Description 2: Pulled over in Oakland, accused of drunk driving. Blood-alcohol measured at .20.

Description 3: Accused of possession of a controlled substance, the designer drug GHB, after police approached his car and found suspicious substance. Acquitted by jury.

#16. Adam Jones

Arrests: 9

Classifications: Assault/Battery (3), Guns/Weapons (2), Drugs (2), Alcohol (2), Disorderly Conduct

Description 1: Accused of assault and vandalism after being asked to leave club in Nashville.

Description 2: Accused of throwing a punch at an officer and marijuana possession in Fayetteville, Ga. He had been in his parked Bentley.

Description 3: Accused of smoking marijuana after he emerged from Corvette reeking of marijuana. Officers were serving a warrant on his home in Georgia.

Description 4: Accused of being drunk, shouting profanities and arguing with a woman outside club in Tennessee.

Description 5: Accused of spitting in a woman’s face at Nashville nightclub.

Description 6: Surrended in Las Vegas, charged with felony coercion in connection to strip club shooting that paralyzed a man.

Description 7: Accused of disorderly conduct while intoxicated and resisting arrest at bar in Cincinnati.

Description 8: Accused of punching a woman outside a Cincinnati bar on June 5, 2013. It is his eighth run-in with the law since 2005.

Description 9: He was the passenger in a car pulled over for speeding and was cited for disorderly conduct. The driver was charged with drunk driving.

#15. Marshawn Lynch

Arrests: 3

Classifications: DUI, Guns/Weapons, Drugs, Reckless Driving

Description 1: Pulled over in Oakland, Calif., and taken to Santa Rita Jail on DUI charge.

Description 2: Police in Culver City, Calif., said they checked car without tags and smelled marijuana, then found gun in trunk, plus marijuana cigarettes. Pleaded guilty to misdemeanor gun charge, 80 hours community service, three years probation. No drug charge. NFL suspended him three games.

Description 3: Accused of hitting woman with his Porsche SUV in Buffalo and driving away. Woman required seven stiches for cut, plus hip bruise. Pleaded guilty to failure to exercise due care to pedestrian, license revoked, $150 fine and surcharge.

#14. Brandon Marshall

Arrests: 4

Classifications: Domestic Violence (2), DUI, Disorderly Conduct

Description 1: Accused of disorderly conduct in Atlanta after fight with fiance.

Description 2: Accused of hitting his girlfriend on March 4, 2008, misdemeanor battery.

Description 3: Pulled over for driving erratically in Denver, charged with drunk driving. Blood-alcohol registered at .116.

Description 4: Charged with false imprisonment in dispute with girlfriend, accused of hitting her car window and blocking her taxi.

Since these arrests, the latest of which occurred in 2009, Marshall has been diagnosed with borderline personality disorder.

#13. Rey Maualuga

Wikipedia Commons

Arrests: 2

Classifications: Assault/Battery, DUI

Description 1: Charged with misdemeanor assault after bar employee said Maualuga hit him in the face.

Description 2: Charged with drunk driving in Covington, Ky., after police said he struck two parked vehicles and parking meter. Blood-alcohol .16.

#12. Rolando McClain

Tony Gutierrez/Associated Press

Arrests: 3

Classifications: Disorderly Conduct, Traffic violation, Assault/Battery, Guns/Weapons

Description 1: Accused of resisting arrest at park in Decatur, Ala., after police responded to report of disturbance

Description 2: Pulled over for window-tint violation in Alabama, accused of giving false name to police.

Description 3: Accused of discharging a gun within city limits of Decatur, Ala., and putting a gun next to a man’s head in fight.

#11. Von Miller

Arrests: 2

Classifications: License violation, Failure to Appear

Description 1: Pulled over for speeding in Arapahoe County, Colo., accused of driving with a suspended license. Second traffic issue in six weeks.

Description 2: Arrested near Denver on warrant for failure to appear in court on previous traffic charges, including careless driving and driving without a license.

#10. William Moore

Arrests: 2

Classifications: Domestic Violence, Traffic/License Violation

Description 1: Accused of grabbing woman by shoulder in dispute, charged with simple battery.

Description 2: Accused of speeding, driving with a suspended license and failure to appear in court for a previous ticket.

#9. Adrian Peterson

Arrests: 2

Classifications: Resisting Arrest, Child Abuse

Description 1: Arrested in downtown Houston on charge of resisting arrest at nightclub after he “assumed an aggressive stance.”

Description 2: Grand jury indicted him on felony charge of injury to a child. Accused of injuring his 4-year-old son with a tree branch while disciplining him.

#8. Matt Prater

Chris Schneider/Associated Press

Arrests: 2

Classifications: DUI (2)

Description 1: Accused of drunk driving after allegedly backing his Chevy Trailblazer into parked car and fleeing the scene.

Description 2: Accused of drunken driving in Orlando, Fla., refusing breath test.

#7. Joseph Randle

Arrests: 2

Classifications: Drugs, Theft

Description 1: Accused of marijuana possession in Wichita, Kan., after report of domestic disturbance at hotel. No signs of injury, police said.

Description 2: Accused of shoplifting at store in Frisco, Texas, after allegedly being caught in the act on video.

#6. Jerome Simpson

Arrests: 3

Classifications: Drugs (2), DUI

Description 1: Pulled over and suspected of marijuana possession, open container and violating terms of his driver’s license.

Description 2: Accused of drunk driving after police responded to a report of a stalled vehicle. He failed sobriety tests.

Description 3: Accused of marijuana trafficking after 2.5 pounds of it were delivered to his home the previous September.

#5. Aldon Smith

Wikipedia Commons

Arrests: 5

Classifications: DUI (3), Disorderly Conduct, Guns/Weapons, Drugs

Description 1: Accused of hitting a parked vehicle with his vehicle, being under the influence of alcohol and vandalism in Santa Clara, Calif.

Description 2: Accused of making a false bomb threat at Los Angeles airport after being selected for secondary screening.

Description 3: Case stems from house party in June 2012, in which Smith was stabbed. Three felony counts of illegal possession of an assault weapon.

Description 4: Accused of drunk driving and marijuana possession after crashing his pickup truck in San Jose, Calif.

Description 5: Accused of drunken driving in Miami Beach.

Smith was released by the 49ers in August for his multiple brushes with the law but was signed by Oakland on Sept. 11. A pending suspension from the league is expected.

#4. Aqib Talib

Wikipedia Commons

Arrests: 2

Classifications: Guns/Weapons, Assault/Battery

Description 1: Police near Dallas issued warrant accusing him of firing gun near head of sister’s boyfriend.

Description 2: Accused of battery and resisting arrest after allegedly hitting a cab driver in Tampa in the neck and ear.

#3. Donte Whitner

Arrests: 2

Classifications: Disorderly Conduct, Harrassment

Description 1: Police said they used Taser to subdue him at Cleveland club, charged him aggravated disorderly conduct and resisting arrest.

Description 2: Accused of harrassment in a dispute at his residence involving girlfriend.

#2. Charles Woodson

Arrests: 2

Classifications: Alcohol, DUI

Description 1: Briefly jailed in downtown Oakland after allegedly refusing to leave a woman’s car around 4 a.m., accused of being drunk in public.

Description 2: Accused of drunk driving and driving with a suspended license in Ann Arbor, Mich. Blood-alcohol measured at .24.

#1. Michael Vick

Arrests: 2

Classifications: Animal Abuse, Trespassing

Description 1: Grand jury indicted him and three others as part of criminal dogfighting enterprise. Pleaded guilty, 23-month jail sentence. He served 19 months. NFL suspension until 2009.

Description 2: Accused of fishing in a private lake in Virginia. Charge dropped.

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