We all saw the trouble the Denver Broncos defense faced in Super Bowl XLVIII against Russell Wilson and the Seattle Seahawks, but there is another issue that has been plaguing the unit in recent years: Legal problems.
Safety T.J. Ward, who signed as a free agent after four seasons in Cleveland, is the latest to join this club. Ward was charged with misdemeanor assault and disturbing the peace charges after allegedly throwing a glass mug at a female bartender at PT’s All Nude Bar in May.
On Monday, prosecutors in Denver said they will drop the charges if Ward completes four hours of community service.
Since 2010, three different Broncos starting linebackers have been hit with either legal charges or league-imposed sanctions.
Team captain D.J. Williams, Denver's leading tackler for four seasons, was sentenced to 30 days under home arrest in 2012 after being convicted for driving while ability impaired. The NFL suspended him for three games, which was in addition to a separate six-game suspension for violating the league's substance abuse policy.
In 2012, Elvis Dumervil was arrested on a charge of aggravated assault with a deadly weapon, after the linebacker walked up to car and lifted his shirt to display a firearm. Police later found a firearm in the glove compartment of Dumervil's Range Rover, but the state's attorney in Miami declined to pursue the charge and dropped the case against him.
Last season, pass rusher extraordinaire Von Miller sat out six games for violating the league’s substance abuse policy. In Miller’s rookie season of 2011, he tested positive for marijuana. Miller had also received several speeding tickets and failed to show up to court on multiple occasions.
“The constant battle with procrastination is what it all boils down to,” Miller said in response to missing court. "If you get a speeding ticket, you have to stay on top of it."
In Ward's case, he must complete his service by Oct. 31 for the charges to be dismissed.
The Denver Post reported that "under NFL rules, Ward could be fined by the league for a misdemeanor offense, but a league-ordered suspension is considered unlikely."