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Ruling threatens Storm player's career

Storm lineman Darion Conner's career could be in jeopardy after Hillsborough Circuit Judge Ronald Ficarrotta on Tuesday ruled Conner cannot travel with the team while facing a DUI-manslaughter charge.

Conner, 37, was arrested in October on a charge that he was intoxicated when his Toyota Land Cruiser struck and killed Carrollwood bicyclist Jonathan Michael Conklin the previous month.

He is out on bail and under house arrest.

"You're only allowed to carry (24) players on the roster," Conner's attorney, Ron Kurpiers, said. "It doesn't seem very probable they'll carry a player who can only play eight games, but that's really the coaching staff's decision."

Conner, a six-year Arena veteran and former NFL player, was a spot starter on defense last season and expected to contribute on the line this year.

For now, he continues to practice with the Storm. Any determination regarding his playing status will be made after training camp.

The team responded through a brief statement.

"Darion Conner remains a member of the Tampa Bay Storm," the statement read. "Our thoughts go out to the family of the victim. As we have previously stated, we'll let everything run its course through the judicial system."

The court rejected Kurpiers' proposal that he personally travel to each game to supervise Conner and report back to the court. It also rejected the attorney's request to extend Conner's 6 p.m. curfew to 8:30 because there are 13 dates during training camp when Storm practices run past 7.

"I was disappointed," Kurpiers said. "I felt that there were a number of safeguards the court could have put in place that would have protected the community and obviously Mr. Conner."

Times staff writer Chris Goffard contributed to this story.

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