Make us your home page
Instagram

Get the quickest, smartest news, analysis and photos from the Bucs game emailed to you shortly after the final whistle.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Reaves charges include cocaine

TAMPA — Twenty-five years ago, legendary University of Florida quarterback John Reaves decided to put his life of cocaine and booze behind him. He joined a church, started a career in real estate and lectured high school students about staying clean.

But police say he may have gone back to his old ways. The 58-year-old was arrested last week after authorities say he pulled a gun on a man who had moved one of his for-sale signs, and then was caught carrying cocaine while being booked into jail.

Reaves' trouble began when he visited a home near West Shore Boulevard on July 26 to ask if a resident had moved a for-sale sign he had installed nearby. A profanity-laced confrontation ensued, and police say a reportedly intoxicated Reaves retrieved a revolver from his Lexus and threatened the resident with it.

A warrant was issued for his arrest, and Reaves was taken into custody Wednesday night. Deputies at the Orient Road Jail found a small baggie of cocaine in his pocket when they booked him.

Reaves, a former first-round NFL draft pick who went to Robinson High School and was an All-American at UF from 1969 to 1971, has battled drug problems in the past. By the time he was in the NFL, his life, he once recalled to Sports Illustrated, "was literally saturated with drugs and alcohol."

Speaking to students at Central High in Brooksville in 1992, he said he worked up to a $1,000-a-day cocaine habit while playing football. His family kicked him out, he said. Twice he was charged with drunken driving.

But the former all-time NCAA passing leader would turn his life around, getting treatment and counseling and embracing religion. He found life beyond football, too, building a successful real estate business in Tampa.

"I'm lucky," Reaves told the students. "There's a lot of guys who did a lot less than I did that are dead now. Drugs will end it for you. They'll cut your head off."

In a telephone interview Monday, Reaves' attorney, Nicholas M. Matassini, said Reaves would plead not guilty. According to a police report, a witness to the for-sale sign confrontation noted that Reaves only pulled out his gun after the resident said he was going to retrieve his own.

"He was protecting himself, which is what he has a right to do," Matassini said.

A former Florida high school player of the year, Reaves was a first-round pick of the Philadelphia Eagles in 1972. He would play professionally for more than a decade, including three years in the United States Football League with the Tampa Bay Bandits, but never achieved the stardom he gained in high school and college.

Reaves coached under Steve Spurrier at UF in the 1990s and also worked at South Carolina and Cornell.

Reaves was charged with possession of cocaine, bringing contraband into a detention facility and aggravated assault with a firearm, according to jail records. He was released early Thursday on $9,000 bond.

Thomas Kaplan can be reached at (813) 226-3404 or tkaplan@sptimes.com.

Reaves charges include cocaine 08/04/08 [Last modified: Tuesday, August 5, 2008 1:39pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Gators rally past Kentucky, streak hits 31

    Blogs

    LEXINGTON, Ky. — For the second week in a row, Florida found itself storming the field in a game that came down to the last second. A 57-yard field-goal attempt by Kentucky kicker Austin MacGinnis came just a few feet short of making history and snapping a 30-year losing streak, as the No. 20 Gators escaped a …

    Florida wide receiver Brandon Powell (4) scores a touchdown during the second half of an NCAA college football game against Kentucky, Saturday, Sept. 23, 2017, in Lexington, Ky.
  2. Pen makes it way too interesting as Rays hang on for 9-6 win

    Blogs

    A couple of home runs provided the news pegs of the night for the Rays, but it was more topical to talk about what nearly happened as they hung on for a 9-6 win over the Orioles.

    Lucas Duda's three-run homer in the third inning was the Rays' record-breaking 217th of the season, as well as his …

  3. Marc Topkin's takeaways from Saturday's Rays-Orioles game

    The Heater

    RHP Jake Odorizzi admitted he probably should have gone on the DL sooner than late July for the back stiffness that was keeping him from throwing the ball where he wanted to. He has since found an impressive groove, with another strong outing Saturday.

  4. Matt Baker's takeaways from Florida State-N.C. State

    College

    RB Cam Akers still looks like a former high school quarterback at times. His first two touches (30 yards) were special, but the freshman juked instead of powering ahead on his third (an unsuccessful third-and-1 rush). That's why the Seminoles are easing him in, as they did with Dalvin Cook three years ago.

    Running back Cam Akers carries for a first down during the third quarter as FSU eases the freshman into the college game.
  5. An attempt to project what Rays will look like in 2018

    The Heater

    BALTIMORE — We know what the Rays look like this year: a team that had enough talent but too many flaws, in construction and performance, and in the next few days will be officially eliminated from a wild-card race it had a chance to win but let slip away.

    Adeiny Hechavarria, high-fiving Lucas Duda, seems likely to be brought back.