Kansas City Chiefs wide receiver Dwayne Bowe was arrested outside Kansas City over the weekend on charges of speeding and possessing marijuana, throwing his status for a pivotal AFC West showdown against the Denver Broncos into question.
Bowe was pulled over for going about 77 kilometres per hour (48 miles per hour) in a 56 kph (35 mph) zone, police in suburban Riverside said Tuesday. Police said an officer smelled "a strong odour of marijuana from inside of the vehicle," and asked Bowe and two passengers to get out of the car.
Police then used a dog to search for illegal substances and found a bag with Bowe's wallet and two containers holding what the officer suspected was marijuana. One container held 6.6 grams of the substance, and the other had 3.8 grams, or about one-third of an ounce in all.
Bowe was cited for speeding and possession of a controlled substance, police said. He posted $750 US bond and is scheduled to appear in Riverside court on Dec. 18.
Chiefs spokesman Ted Crews said the team was aware of the situation but declined further comment. Bowe's agent, Todd France, did not return a message seeking comment.
It's unclear whether Bowe will be available for Sunday's game. While penalties have varied, NFL commissioner Roger Goodell historically has suspended players one game without pay and fined them an additional game check for possession of marijuana, once the case is finalized.
Bowe was suspended four games in 2009 for violating the NFL's policy on performance-enhancing drugs after taking what his agent called an unapproved weight-loss supplement. But that policy differs from the NFL's most recent substance-abuse policy, which governs illegal drugs and alcohol abuse.
The unbeaten Chiefs were off Tuesday before resuming preparations for their Sunday night game against the Broncos, who are a game back in the division standings. It's the first of two games that the longtime rivals will play in a span of three weeks.
A passenger in the car was also arrested for possession of a controlled substance after the police dog found a backpack that contained 4.2 grams of suspected marijuana. Riverside is a community of about 3,000 residents located just north of Kansas City.
Along with his previous suspension, Bowe made questionable comments to a magazine a few years ago about womanizing that allegedly occurred at team hotels. He then offered an apology that went awry when he referred to the Hunt family that owns the Chiefs as "the Clarks" — a reference to Clark Hunt, who serves as the team's most visible face.
People close to Bowe have said he started to mature after those incidents, though, and the result was the best stretch of his seven-year career.
He caught a league-leading 15 touchdown passes in 2010, when he earned his first trip to the Pro Bowl, and a career-high 81 passes the following year. He was banged up most of last season and struggled in part because of a shaky quarterback situation, but still did enough to warrant a five-year, $56 million deal from the Chiefs' new regime this past off-season.
So far, he's struggled to live up to the new contract.
Bowe has had trouble getting open in Reid's offence, and has been subjected to constant double-teams. He has 33 catches for 369 yards and two touchdowns through the first nine games.
The Chiefs returned to practice from their bye on Monday, and while there was no access to players, coach Andy Reid said on a conference call with reporters that everyone participated.
"Everybody was back," Reid said, "which is a good thing."
That presumably included Bowe, whom the Chiefs may have to find a way to replace when the team resumes practice on Wednesday. They're already thin at wide receiver, and Bowe's absence would put more pressure on Donnie Avery and Dexter McCluster in the passing game. Avery, signed by the Chiefs this past off-season, has 27 catches for 396 yards and a touchdown. McCluster has 25 catches for 262 yards and a score.
It would also put more pressure on running back Jamaal Charles, who has a team-leading 47 receptions while also leading the AFC with 725 yards rushing. The Chiefs already had been wary of using Charles too much during the first half of the season.
"Well, knowing he's one of your more explosive players. You're going to try and get him the ball as much as you can," offensive co-ordinator Doug Pederson said. "That's just the nature of it."