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Tampa Bay Buccaneers' Eric Wright arrested on suspicion of DUI

TAMPA — Eric Wright was among three high-priced free agents the Bucs said were a "perfect fit'' for the organization under new coach Greg Schiano.

But Wright's first few months in Tampa Bay have been anything but ideal.

Wright, who signed a five-year, $37 million contract with the Bucs in March, was arrested on suspicion of felony DUI after an injury accident near the Staples Center early Monday in downtown Los Angeles, according to police.

The arrest adds another episode to Wright's rocky start with the Bucs. He missed most of the team's offseason workouts and minicamps with a non-football related illness.

Los Angeles police spokesperson Karen Rayner said Central Traffic Division officers responded to an injury accident at James M. Wood and Georgia streets at 12:20 a.m. (PST). Wright, driving a Mercedes XLS luxury sports coupe, was involved in a rear-end collision with a Chevy Silverado.

Wright told police he had been drinking at a friend's house near Hollywood, and refused a Breathalyzer or field sobriety test. He was charged with felony DUI because the accident involved injury, Rayner said. The other driver involved complained of pain but declined medical treatment. Wright was not injured.

Wright was released early Monday after posting $100,000 bail, according to the Los Angeles County Sheriff Department's on-line tracker. He has a court appearance July 23, three days before Bucs veterans are scheduled to report to training camp.

If convicted, Wright could be subject to sanctions by the NFL for violating the league's personal conduct policy.

"We are aware of the arrest and are in the process of gathering information," Bucs director of communications Jonathan Grella said in a statement. "We take such matters very seriously and will handle it appropriately."

Wright, who has played for the Browns and Lions, was part of Schiano's first free-agent signing class, along with wide receiver Vincent Jackson and guard Carl Nicks. He is expected to start opposite cornerback Aqib Talib as Ronde Barber moves to safety.

Schiano and general manager Mark Dominik spent a good part of the offseason talking about filling the roster with "Buccaneer men.''

"At the end of the day, it's the tape that matters for us," Dominik said at the introductory news conference for Wright, Jackson and Nicks. "And you want to make sure the character of the man fit what he brings to the football team."

This was not the first time Wright has faced legal problems. While attending USC and before transferring to UNLV in 2005, Wright was arrested on suspicion of rape, the Los Angeles Times reported. Though police said they found 136 Ecstasy pills in Wright's apartment, Los Angeles County prosecutors did not file charges, citing insufficient evidence.

Around the league

BRONCOS: Kicker Matt Prater, who had the franchise tag placed on him in March, signed a new four-year deal. Terms were undisclosed.

SAINTS: General manager Mickey Loomis said the club has agreed to terms on four-year contracts with fifth-round draft pick Corey White and seventh-rounder Marcel Jones.

JURISPRUDENCE: Federal authorities say former receiver Johnnie Morton was sentenced to two years probation for lying to a grand jury during a criminal probe of his California business associate. The Internal Revenue Service said Morton, 40, conceded he lied during 2009 testimony by saying he did not have business dealings with Neang Chhorvann. Morton played 12 seasons with the Lions, Chiefs and 49ers.

Information from Times wires was used in this report.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers' Eric Wright arrested on suspicion of DUI 07/02/12 [Last modified: Monday, July 2, 2012 11:08pm]
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