NFL arrests since 2000: Vikings, Bengals most afoul of the law; Texans are least arrested


Ray Rice is the biggest news in the NFL this week, followed closely by the league’s looming adjustments to its punishment policies for scofflaws.

Josh Gordon gets suspended for a whole season for marijuana, while Ray Rice goes all Apollo Creed on his fiancée and gets a two-gamer? A lot of people are crying “foul,” and the NFL is finally doing something about it.

But the focus on these unfortunate aspects of The League – the seemingly never-ending police blotter of NFL players getting arrested – got me to wondering something: Which teams have the highest frequency of player arrests? Which teams are the squeaky clean ones?

Of course, those of us who are Green Bay Packers fans like to believe our boys in green and gold are atop the league’s standards.

But hold up – I checked out an NFL arrests database, compiled by Brent Schrotenboer and Merrie Monteagudo of the San Diego Union-Tribune, and the Packers not only are not the team with the least arrests since 2000, they just barely got into the top 10 of the nice-guy teams.

The Houston Texans have the fewest arrests in the NFL since that year with 9, the most recent of which was five years ago when Vonta Leach (an ex-Packer) was snagged for assault stemming from a fight in a restaurant. Of course, since the franchise was only founded in 2002, they have a bit of an advantage in this backward race, but no arrests in five years is impressive, given some of the high-profile criminal cases the NFL has seen in recent times.

Speaking of which, the team with the most arrests in 2000-present time frame is one of Green Bay’s conference rivals, the Minnesota Vikings, with 44 arrests.

By comparison to the Texans, the Vikings have 15 arrests in the last five years, one of which was stud running back Adrian Peterson for resisting arrest, ironically, in a Houston night club.

The Cincinnati Bengals are second on the most-arrests list with 42, with Adam “Pac Man” Jones accounting for three of those on his own.

Many of these NFL arrests stem from speeding violations or DUI charges; much of the time, charges are later dropped or reduced. Unfortunately, a large percentage of the arrests reported on the website involve some form of violence, be it assault stemming from a dispute in a night club to domestic violence like what happened with Ray Rice.

If the NFL is looking at the same list I reviewed, it’s astonishing it took a sad situation like the Rice debacle to open Roger Goodell’s eyes.

For those of you wondering (and since this is a Packers site, that probably means all of you), the Packers list 17 arrests from 2000 to the present. Three of those arrests were of Johnny Jolly. The most heinous was, of course, the 2002 arrest of tight end Mark Chmura, who was charged with and later acquitted of “sexually assaulting his children’s 17-year-old baby sitter during a drunken prom party,” as the San Diego Times-Union phrases it.

And, of course, who can forget Najeh Davenport’s infamous 2002 arrest for breaking into his girlfriend’s dorm room and defecating in her closet, earning him the nickname “Najeh Davenpoop” (You can’t make this stuff up).

Here is an alphabetical list of NFL teams and the number of arrests since 2000, with a few notes and comments (note that these lists only include arrests of players who were on rosters at the time of their arrest):

Arizona: 13 arrests. Two players account for four of these arrests.

Atlanta: 19. Michael Vick claims two of these 19.

Baltimore: 22. Before Ray Rice was Ray Lewis, and his infamous arrest related to a murder case in 2000. Lewis was initially charged with murder, felony murder and aggravated assault in deaths of two men the night of the Super Bowl in Atlanta, but he later pleaded guilty to obstruction of justice.

Buffalo: 18. Former Bill Marshawn Lynch is responsible for two of these arrests, and no, he wasn’t caught shoplifting Skittles.

Carolina: 18. This total does not include the infamous Rae Carruth murder case, which happened in 1999.

Roger Goodell admitted that he botched the Ray Rice punishment. Robert Deutsch-USA TODAY Sports

Chicago: 27. Terry “Tank” Johnson owns four of these arrests; Cedric Benson, briefly a Packer just two seasons ago, chips in a pair to the list of 27.

Cincinnati: 42. In addition to Pac Man’s four arrests, Benson also scored two arrests as a Bengal. The late Chris Henry also accounted for four arrests during his time as a Bengal.

Cleveland: 29. Gordon is the high-profile guy here, but even he can’t carry the entire team. Other notables to be arrested as Browns include Donte Stallworth, Braylon Edwards and Kellen Winslow Jr.

Dallas: 15. Some say GM Jerry Jones should be arrested for the way he runs his team, but the Cowboys’ arrest record is fairly tame other than Brent Jones’ intoxication manslaughter in the 2012 crash that killed teammate Jerry Brown and Dez Bryant’s arrest that year in a family dispute in which he allegedly struck his mother.

Denver: 39. Other than Brandon Marshall’s three arrests while playing as a Bronco, there are few high-profile names on this prolific list. It’s a wonder, however, someone hasn’t arrested Peyton Manning for those awful Papa John’s commercials.

Detroit: 17. It’s shocking the Lions have the same number of arrests as the Packers. Apparently, most of their infractions happen ON the field.

Green Bay: 17. There have been no Packers arrested since 2011, which saw Jolly and Walden both get nicked. Neither are currently on the team, nor is Brandon Underwood, who was responsible for two arrests while briefly a Packer.

Houston: 9. Not a violent arrest on the docket – these nine are mostly traffic- and DUI-related. They’re doing something right in Houston.

Indianapolis: 25. If GMs counted toward the list it would be 26; GM Jim Irsay was nabbed for DUI earlier this year.

Jacksonville: 30. Justin Blackmon, Fred Taylor and Jimmy Smith are the biggest names on this long list.

Kansas City: 29. Jared Allen and Larry Johnson each had multiple arrests as Chiefs.

Miami: 28. Chad Johnson was only a Dolphin for about 20 minutes, but he had time to get arrested on a misdemeanor domestic violence charge for allegedly head-butting his wife during an argument. Ricky Williams picked up a couple of arrests for traffic violations, as well.

Minnesota: 44. Wasn’t the whole team arrested a few years ago? Seems like it.

New York Giants: 15. Plaxico Burress tops this list after accidentally shooting himself in thigh at New York nightclub and then serving two years for it. He shoots himself and gets two years – Ray Rice slugs his wife and goes to counseling.

New York Jets: 13. Brett Favre wasn’t arrested during his stay with the Jets, just inappropriate.

New England: 16. To be fair, Aaron Hernandez should probably count for at least two or three more on this list.

New Orleans: 20. This is a relatively tame list, given it’s the Big Easy. In 2009, tight end Kolomona Kapanui got arrested for urinating in public and exposing himself to women. The saddest arrest involved defensive end Charles Grant, who was arrested after a shooting in a night club that left a pregnant woman dead. A manslaughter charge against Grant was later dropped.

Oakland: 19. “Only” 19 arrests for the Raiders? The RAIDERS? Disappointing, guys. I thought these were the true bad boys of the NFL. Turns out they’re just a lousy football team.

Philadelphia: 13. Pretty tame, and one of these was Jason Peters getting arrested for loud music being played in his car. Maybe the fans are the rowdy ones in Philly.

Pittsburgh: 21. Santonio Holmes and Plaxico Burress lead this list with two each, and there’s also another Najeh Davenport sighting.

San Diego: 26. This does not include NFL super-bust Ryan Leaf’s multiple arrests, which happened after the league decided it no longer wanted him.

San Francisco: 19. Aldon Smith and Ray McDonald are the most recent. Smith now has four arrests to his “credit;” McDonald is lagging behind with “only” three.

Seattle: 21. Apparently the “Fail Mary” didn’t qualify as a felony in society. Neither do the weekly muggings by Seattle defensive backs.

St. Louis: 11. Take away tight end Dominique Byrd with two arrests in the mid-2000s, and the Rams are right there with the Texans in being well behaved citizens.

Tampa Bay: 31. Did you notice that all three NFL teams in Florida have at least 28 arrests? What’s going on down there? Too many night clubs?

Tennessee: 34. If you could take away Kenny Brit and Pac Man Jones, you would expunge a whopping 13 arrests from this list. Problem is, you can’t. Sorry, Titans.

Washington: 19. Fred Davis and Albert Haynesworth are not quite as prolific a punitive pair as Britt and Jones, but give them an “A” for effort with a combined seven arrests as Redskins. Some people consider the team’s mascot and name to be a hate crime, but I’m not going to touch that one.