Former Plant High, NFL tight end Orson Charles arrested in Ybor City

The former All-SEC tight end brandished a gun during a parking spot dispute, according to a Tampa Police Department report.
Orson Charles, a former Plant High standout, never really caught on in the NFL.
Orson Charles, a former Plant High standout, never really caught on in the NFL. [ RON SCHWANE | AP ]
Published July 16, 2022|Updated July 16, 2022

Former NFL tight end and Plant High alumnus Orson Charles was arrested early Saturday morning in Ybor City on three felony charges after pulling a gun during an argument over a parking space, according to a Tampa Police Department report.

A two-way standout for the Panthers’ Class 4A state title team in 2008, Charles, 31, was charged with aggravated assault with a deadly weapon, carrying a concealed firearm and introduction of contraband into a detention facility. He was found in possession of a misdemeanor amount of marijuana, per the report.

He remained in jail early Saturday afternoon on a $6,250 bond, according to Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office records.

The TPD report indicates the victims were attempting to park at the intersection of 19th Street and Eighth Avenue shortly before midnight when Charles tried entering the space from a different direction.

Charles exited his vehicle and approached the driver side of the other vehicle. When the driver opened the driver-side door to speak with Charles, he pulled a black firearm from under his shirt, according to a criminal report affidavit.

When the victims identified themselves as law enforcement officers and displayed their badges, Charles said, “I don’t give a (expletive); I have one in the head.”

The victims left the parking spot, but reported the incident to an off-duty sheriff’s office deputy and maintained a visual on Charles until he was taken into custody. His permit to carry a concealed firearm was found to be expired, according to the TPD report.

A first-team All-SEC selection at Georgia in 2011, Charles was drafted by the Bengals in the fourth round in 2012, less than two months after his arrest on a DUI charge in Clarke County, Ga. In a vagabond pro career that included active-roster stints with four teams, he totaled 14 catches for 185 yards and no touchdowns.

He transferred to Plant from Riverview High for his senior season, totaling 75 catches for 1,418 yards and 21 touchdowns, with six sacks on defense that year. He and Panthers quarterback Aaron Murray — who also played at Georgia — were named co-offensive players of the year on the Tampa Bay Times’ 2008 All-Suncoast team.

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