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Case against Tampa Bay Buccaneers' Geno Hayes closed without finding of guilt

Even as the case against cornerback Aqib Talib is taking shape, another criminal matter involving a Bucs defender is wrapping up.

The case against linebacker Geno Hayes, who was arrested in December on charges of disorderly conduct and trespassing, is closed, said his attorney, Andrew Shein. Prosecutors reached an agreement with Hayes that resulted in the disorderly conduct charge being dropped while he pleaded no contest to the trespassing charge.

Both charges were misdemeanors, stemming from a late-night confrontation with club security and a police officer at Tampa's Blue Martini nightclub.

The court will withhold adjudication on the trespassing charge. Hayes will not be required to perform community service or serve any other sentence. He must pay $265 in court costs.

The fact that the charges will not be adjudicated could help Hayes once the case is reviewed by NFL officials to determine whether there was a violation of the league's personal-conduct policy. But commissioner Roger Goodell has handed down discipline even in cases where players were not found guilty of a crime.

Last week, Talib was charged in Texas with aggravated assault with a deadly weapon. He denied allegations that he fired a handgun during a shooting incident.

Talib was suspended by Goodell for one game last season after a 2009 arrest for misdemeanor battery. Like this case, Talib's case was resolved without a formal finding of guilt, but that didn't spare Talib from Goodell's discipline (Talib fulfilled obligations such as anger management courses, completing them in November).

Hayes has started the past two seasons, when he has been among the team's leading tacklers. The starting weakside linebacker was second on the club with four sacks last season.

Labor update: A federal judge in Minnesota will combine two requests to halt the NFL lockout.

U.S. District Judge Susan Richard Nelson said she will hear arguments from attorneys for Tom Brady, Drew Brees and other current players, as well as attorneys for retired players. The current players and retirees have filed similar antitrust lawsuits against the league in addition to their requests for an injunction to stop the lockout.

The arguments are scheduled to be heard Wednesday.

The players say the lockout should be stopped because it is causing irreparable harm. The retirees say it could jeopardize retirement benefits subsidized by the league. League attorneys didn't oppose combining the cases, but they want the lockout kept in place.

In other labor news, while emphasizing that he believes the NFL's drug-testing program is strong, Goodell acknowledged that it can be improved. The commissioner said the league will insist that its next labor deal include testing for human growth hormone.

vrabel arrested: Chiefs linebacker Mike Vrabel was arrested and charged with theft from a riverboat casino in Florence, Ind. Vrabel, 35, was released on $600 cash bond. He was charged with a class D felony. He called it "an unfortunate misunderstanding'' that could be resolved.

Information from Times wires was used in this report.

Case against Tampa Bay Buccaneers' Geno Hayes closed without finding of guilt 04/04/11 [Last modified: Monday, April 4, 2011 9:33pm]

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