Baltimore Ravens RB Jamal Lewis

5 NFL players jailed for drug possession feat. Jamal Lewis and Travis Henry

NFL players are celebrities in addition to being professional athletes. Every move they make becomes public news, especially when it's something negative, such as getting in trouble with the law. This is especially true in the modern era, where social media has the ability to make any story go viral.


Drug usage has long been an issue among NFL players. It's a widespread problem that the league office is working towards correcting. Many players over the years have been busted for drug possession, with several of them serving lengthy prison sentences. Here are five such cases.

#1 Johnny Jolly

Green Bay Packers DT Johnny Jolly

Johnny Jolly was selected by the Green Bay Packers in the sixth round of the 2006 NFL Draft. He played in 61 games as a defensive tackle across five seasons with the team.

Jolly was arrested with 200 grams of codeine during the 2008 offseason. His charges were initially dismissed, but were refiled the following year. With his case still pending in 2011, Jolly was arrested again, this time with 600 grams of codeine.

He was found guilty of possession with intent to distribute and sentenced to six years in prison, but was granted 10 years of parole after serving six months.


#2 Travis Henry

Buffalo Bills RB Travis Henry

Travis Henry was selected by the Buffalo Bills in the second round of the 2001 NFL Draft. He scored 29 touchdowns in four years with the team before finishing his career with the Tennessee Titans and Denver Broncos.

20 days until 2018 NFL regular season. #KickoffCountown Today we remember Travis Henry, who rushed for 1,438 yards and 13 TDs in 2002. He also fathered 11 kids with 10 women and spent 3 years in federal prison for financing a cocaine traffic operation #NextLevelStats

Following the 2008 season, Henry was suspended for violating the league's substance abuse policy. A couple of months later, he was arrested by the DEA for drug trafficking after being busted in a cocaine deal.

He was officially charged with financing a cocaine trafficking operation and was sentenced to three years in federal prison.

#3 Sam Hurd

Dallas Cowboys wide receiver Sam Hurd

Sam Hurd was signed as an undrafted free agent by the Dallas Cowboys prior to the 2006 NFL season. He spent the first five years of his career with the team, recording 53 receptions for 739 yards before joining the Chicago Bears for one season.

The Bizarre Story of an NFL WR Attempting to Become a Kingpin! What Happened to Sam Hurd?…

Following the 2011 season, Hurd was arrested by ICE for allegedly intending to distribute large amounts of cocaine and marijuana. While his case was pending, he failed two drug tests in 2012 and was indefinitely put in jail. About a year later, he pleaded guilty to possession with intent to distribute and was sentenced to 15 years in prison.

#4 Jamal Lewis

Baltimore Ravens RB Jamal Lewis

Jamal Lewis was selected by the Baltimore Ravens with the fifth overall pick in the 2000 NFL Draft. He spent six years with the team and won a Super Bowl ring before playing three seasons with the Cleveland Browns. He was named the NFL Offensive Player of the Year for his 2003 season with the Ravens. He became one of only eight players ever to exceed 2,000 rushing yards in a single season.

Following the 2004 NFL season, Lewis was charged with conspiracy to possess and distribute cocaine after his personal cell phone was linked to a drug dealing case. He spent about a year on trial before accepting a plea agreement and ultimately serving four months in prison before being released.

#5 Ryan Leaf

San Diego Chargers QB Ryan Leaf

Ryan Leaf was selected by the San Diego Chargers with the second overall pick of the 1998 NFL Draft. He is widely considered one of the biggest busts in NFL Draft history. He recorded 14 passing touchdowns and a massive 36 interceptions in just 21 games.

Leaf was first arrested for possession of illegal drugs in 2009 and was sentenced to 10 years of probation. He was arrested twice more in 2012 for possessing drugs and was eventually sentenced to five years in prison. He was released on parole after serving about two and a half years.

Edited by
Nicolaas Ackermann
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