Former NFL All-Pro safety Darren Sharper must remain in a Los Angeles jail without bail after he was indicted in Arizona on charges of drugging and sexually assaulting two women, a California judge ruled Thursday.
While making her decision, Superior Court Judge Renee Korn rejected a motion by Sharper's lawyers to release him on house arrest and said Arizona authorities want to extradite the Super Bowl champion to face trial in that state after he is tried on similar charges in California.
In Los Angeles, the 38-year-old Sharper has pleaded not guilty to charges involving the rape and drugging of two women he met in a West Hollywood bar.
He was previously released on $1 million bail in the California case but turned himself in on Feb. 27 after an arrest warrant was issued in New Orleans. He has not been charged in that state.
Sharper is also under investigation in Florida and Nevada.
Sharper was indicted on Tuesday in Tempe, Ariz., on charges of drugging and raping two women in November.
Sharper's attorneys want a hearing to set bail in Arizona, but their client would have to be present.
"We know that Darren will vigorously deny the allegations," Sharper's Arizona attorney Skip Donau said Wednesday. "We are hopeful of vindication."
In a bail motion filed last month, a Los Angeles County investigator described a pattern in which the former football star met women at clubs or parties and lured them to a hotel room, where they were allegedly drugged and raped.
The New Orleans warrant says police learned from witnesses that Sharper and an associate had acknowledged having nonconsensual sex with two women. Sharper's attorneys say he never made such statements.
The warrant does not elaborate on how the information was obtained or disclose the names of the witnesses.
Sharper was selected All-Pro six times and chosen for the Pro Bowl five times. He played in two Super Bowls, one with the Green Bay Packers as a rookie and was part of a successful championship run while with the New Orleans Saints.
He retired after the 2010 season and was working as an analyst for the NFL Network before being fired recently.
PANTHERS RELEASE WR SMITH
The Steve Smith era in Carolina is over.
The Panthers released their all-time leading receiver on Thursday after 13 seasons. Panthers general manager Dave Gettleman said it "was not an easy decision" in a press release.
"Steve has been one of the NFL's finest receivers for over a decade and has been the face of the franchise for a large part of the team's history," Gettleman said. "As a team, we made a step forward last year; however we are also a team in transition, which is a part of the NFL."
The decision comes one day after Smith's agent, Derrick Fox, told The Associated Press that the 13-year NFL veteran "is not going to play for the Panthers next year, I know that."
Fox said the Panthers never asked Smith, who turns 35 in May, to restructure his current contract. The Panthers were unable to trade Smith, who was set to cost $7 million under this year's salary cap.
The Panthers still owe Smith $3 million this season.
The decision has not been a popular one among Carolina fans. Gettleman addressed that in his press release.
"When I took this position I knew that difficult decisions would have to be made along the way," Gettleman said. "To move on from a storied veteran player is probably the most difficult of all. A decision not to be taken lightly. However, after much thought I feel very strongly it's the right one."
"As I've stated many times, all decisions I make will be in the long-term best interest of the Carolina Panthers. Decisions, either popular or unpopular, have to be made for the greater good and it is imperative to take an unemotional global view. Sometimes it may appear that short term interests will suffer, and I can assure you we have no interest in taking a step back from our 2013 accomplishments."
One possible replacement for Smith is free agent Hakeem Nicks, a Charlotte native who played for New York Giants.
The move marks the end of an era for the Panthers.
Smith joined the team as a third-round draft pick out of Utah in 2001. He made an immediate impact in the NFL, returning the opening kickoff of the season for a touchdown against the Vikings. He became the first Panthers rookie selected to the Pro Bowl, earning that honor as a return specialist.
Known for his feisty behavior on the field, Smith became a dominant receiver over the next 12 seasons. He is Carolina's all-time leader with 75 total touchdowns and has 836 receptions for 12,197 yards.
"On the football field Steve had a competitive arrogance that (was) second to none — second to none," said former Panthers quarterback Jake Delhomme in a telephone interview. "That helped him be as good as he was. He made other guys step up their game. But off the field he was totally different. He loves his wife and his family. He's a genuinely good person with a great heart."
Panthers coach Ron Rivera said in the release: "He is a great competitor with Hall of Fame-worthy statistics and has made a great contribution to our community."
Fox said Smith would have welcomed a chance to move inside to slot receiver, but the team never offered him that opportunity.
As productive as Smith was, his fiery personality often rubbed people the wrong way, and some viewed him as a distraction in the locker room. Smith had run-ins with teammates on at least two occasions. He punched out fellow wide receiver Anthony Bright in a film room fight and later socked cornerback Ken Lucas on the field during a practice at training camp in Spartanburg, S.C.
On both occasions, Smith was suspended by the team.
Delhomme said that was a "humbling experience" for Smith, who apologized to Lucas and the team's fans after the incident.
Despite the two incidents, Smith was immensely popular with the fan base, in large part due to his production on the field. He also worked hard to change his public image over the last several years and has been an active member of the Charlotte community.
Smith said on Twitter on Wednesday that "I will always be a Carolina panther No contract can ever change that CLT is my home and will always be my home... I love you #panthernation."
When asked if he was surprised Smith was released, Delhomme said, "It does surprise, but that's the NFL. I mean, look, Peyton Manning plays for the Denver Broncos — that the way it goes."
Smith isn't the only receiver leaving the Panthers.
A person familiar with the situation says Domenik Hixon has agreed to terms on a one-year deal with the Chicago Bears. The person spoke to The Associated Press on Thursday on condition of anonymity because the deal has not yet been announced.
Also, Panthers backup quarterback Derek Anderson announced Thursday on Twitter he has re-signed with Carolina for a fourth season. Anderson tweeted: "Happy to be coming back to Charlotte next season!"
REVIS AGREES TO TERMS WITH PATRIOTS
Revis Island is coming to New England.
The Patriots have agreed to contract terms with three-time All-Pro cornerback Darrelle Revis, according to his business manager.
"Now it's Official.@Revis24 has agreed to terms with the New England Patriots!" John Geiger tweeted Thursday.
The Patriots wasted little time in finding a replacement for another top cornerback. On Tuesday, Aqib Talib left for a six-year contract worth a reported $57 million with the Denver Broncos.
The agreement with Revis was first reported by ESPN, which said it was for one year at $12 million. The Patriots have not made an announcement regarding Revis.
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers released the three-time All-Pro on Wednesday before he was due a $1.5 million bonus. Revis was cut after efforts to trade him and his $16 million salary failed.
Now he's with New England, the AFC rival of the New York Jets, the team Revis spent his first six seasons with before being traded to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers before last year's draft.
As a Jet, Revis faced the Patriots 12 times in the regular season and postseason, more than any other opponent. He had two interceptions, nine passes defensed, one fumble recovery and 50 tackles in those games.
Revis, known for his lock-down coverage of receivers, trademarked the phrase "Revis Island," a nickname he was given because of his ability in man-to-man coverage.
He's an upgrade over Talib, and more durable, and comes to a defense that allowed the 15th most yards passing in the NFL last season and the seventh most overall. The Patriots also could use another pass-rushing defensive end to complement Chandler Jones, who led them with 11 1-2 sacks last season.
They won the AFC East with a 12-4 record but lost the AFC championship game in Denver 26-16 as Peyton Manning threw for 400 yards, two touchdowns and no interceptions.
The Patriots usually don't sign big-name veteran free agents. Last year, they let wide receiver Wes Welker leave for Denver and replaced him with oft-injured free agent Danny Amendola, who caught 54 passes in a disappointing season.
Now the Patriots can focus on finding receivers to help Tom Brady, who will be 37 when he begins his 15th NFL season.
Julian Edelman, who emerged last season with a career-high 105 catches, is a free agent but could remain with New England.
Other free agent wide receivers who might interest the Patriots are Jason Avant, who has 297 catches in eight seasons with Philadelphia, Brandon LaFell, who has 167 catches in four seasons with Carolina, and Emmanuel Sanders, who has 161 catches in four seasons with Pittsburgh. They combined for 154 catches for 13 touchdowns last season.
Revis spent less than a year with the Bucs, who obtained him from the Jets for a first-round choice last year and a fourth-rounder this year. But with Lovie Smith taking over as coach after Greg Schiano was fired and Jason Licht becoming general manager, both in January, the Bucs are rebuilding a team that went 4-12.
If Revis had remained on Tampa Bay's roster at 4 p.m. Wednesday, he would have been due the bonus, and the 2014 pick the Bucs sent to the Jets would have become a third-rounder.
Just 28 years old but a five-time Pro Bowl selection, Revis, a first-round draft pick in 2007, likely will team with Alfonzo Dennard, drafted in 2012, as the starting cornerbacks. Dennard could see a lot of passes thrown his way since teams are reluctant to throw toward Revis.
Dennard, 24, is currently serving a 60-day jail term in Lincoln, Neb., for a 2012 assault on a police officer. He began the term last Saturday and must serve at least 35 days, after credit for good behavior and the three days he already spent in jail.
Defensive captain Devin McCourty is one starting safety, but the other spot is open after the Patriots released Steve Gregory after last season.
Revis started all 16 games last season for Tampa Bay after recovering from a torn anterior cruciate ligament in his left knee and receiving a $96 million, six-year contract. He played in just two games for the Jets in 2012 after starting 77 of their 80 regular-season games in his first five NFL seasons. He made the Pro Bowl last season when he had two interceptions, a sack and two forced fumbles.
Releasing Revis "was a tough decision. He's a very good player," Licht, a former personnel executive with the Patriots, said at a news conference Wednesday. "Darrelle showed a lot of heart last year as he worked extremely hard to get himself back on the field following his knee injury sustained the previous season."
JAGUARS SIGNING CLEMONS, HOOD
The Jacksonville Jaguars are continuing to revamp their defensive line by agreeing to terms with free agents Chris Clemons and Ziggy Hood.
Seattle released Clemons in a cost-cutting move Wednesday. His cross-country trek to Jacksonville reunites him with former Seahawks defensive coordinator and current Jaguars head coach Gus Bradley.
The 32-year-old Clemons is expected to sign a four-year deal following a physical Thursday. The 27-year-old Hood, who spent the last five years in Pittsburgh, also will sign Thursday.
After failing to find success in Oakland and Philadelphia, Clemons thrived in Seattle under Bradley. He was the team's top pass rusher from 2010 to 2012, recording 33½ sacks and getting at least 11 each year.
Jacksonville signed former Seahawks defensive end Red Bryant last week.
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