Tampa Bay Buccaneers release TE Jerramy Stevens after arrest

TAMPA — The Bucs ended TE Jerramy Stevens' controversial tenure with the team Monday, releasing the veteran two days after he was arrested on two felony marijuana possession charges.

Stevens was deactivated against the Rams after Saturday night's arrest. He was replaced on the roster Monday by TE Ryan Purvis, who was promoted from the practice squad.

"It's always tough to see anybody on your team leave for whatever reason," coach Raheem Morris said. "But you always have to go out and do what's best for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers."

Stevens, 30, is charged with felony possession of cannabis with intent to sell, felony possession of cannabis and a misdemeanor of possession of drug paraphernalia, Tampa police said.

During a traffic stop for loud music, a police sergeant said he smelled marijuana coming from inside Stevens' vehicle. A search yielded 38 grams of marijuana, the officer said. Stevens was arrested and later released on $4,500 bail.

Stevens was scheduled to make $1.425 million with the Bucs this season. As a vested veteran, he is entitled to file for termination pay, which would potentially pay him the remaining balance of his contract.

It is the latest in a series of run-ins with police for Stevens, who was sentenced to 30 days in jail in Arizona for extreme DUI in 2007 and has a history of alcohol-related offenses.

Given the quantity Stevens is accused of having and the proximity of the arrest to the team's hotel — Stevens and his teammates were due to check in within the hour, as they do every Saturday night before home games — the incident raises potentially uncomfortable questions for the Bucs.

Asked whether Stevens could have intended to share the drug with his teammates, Morris declined to speculate.

"We gave our blanket statement from our organization, and we'll just stick to those details," Morris said.

Stevens is the second player removed from the active roster for drug use and/or possession this season. Last month, the league suspended S Tanard Jackson for 12 months for his latest violation of the substance-abuse policy, a breach thought to be related to marijuana.

Morris used the latest incident to make a point to his players.

"You address everything with your team," Morris said. "Your team is the first to know about it. … We knew about it the night before the game."

Though Stevens' involvement in the passing game was minimal this season — three catches for 43 yards — he was part of a two-tight end package the Bucs planned to use extensively Sunday. That sent offensive coordinator Greg Olson scrambling Saturday night and Sunday morning, trying to figure out ways to carry out their game plan without Stevens.

In his place, the Bucs used OT James Lee and TE John Gilmore.

"We had a fairly extensive two-tight end package. So it really handcuffs you," Olson said. "(The arrest) happened so late that you're unable to bring another player up. So, I really have to give credit to (assistant coaches) for getting other guys ready."

Injuries: Morris offered no specifics on injuries, but one to watch is RT Jeremy Trueblood's knee. He left the game and was replaced by Lee. Morris said he did not have the details of Trueblood's injury. … G Keydrick Vincent and FB Earnest Graham were among those who missed the game. Both hope to return Sunday at Arizona.

Stephen F. Holder can be reached at sholder@sptimes.com.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers release TE Jerramy Stevens after arrest 10/25/10 [Last modified: Monday, October 25, 2010 10:45pm]

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