Falcons’ Snelling won’t play after pot arrest

TAMPA, Fla. — Atlanta Falcons running back Jason Snelling, who was arrested on misdemeanor charges of marijuana possession and possession of drug paraphernalia, did not make the trip with the team for Sunday’s road game against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, coach Mike Smith said.

“We are disappointed in what has transpired over the last 48 hours concerning Jason Snelling,” Smith said in a statement after the team arrived in Tampa. “Any time one of our players is involved in an off-the-field incident, we take it very seriously.

“Jason missed practice on Friday. After speaking with him yesterday, Jason has decided to take some personal time to deal with his situation and will miss tomorrow’s game. We anticipate him rejoining our team Monday morning.”

Winder (Ga.) police officer Chris Cooper said Snelling was arrested early Friday morning following a traffic stop.

Cooper said officers pulled over Snelling’s SUV after noticing it weaving and crossing the center line. Cooper said officers smelled marijuana inside the vehicle and determined Snelling did not have a valid driver’s license or insurance.

The Falcons said in a statement that the team was “aware of the situation concerning Jason Snelling and are in the process of gathering additional information.” The team declined further comment immediately following the arrest, calling it an ongoing legal matter.

Cooper said Snelling was taken to the Barrow County Detention Center and released after posting bond.

Snelling initially was considered questionable for Sunday’s game while recovering from a knee injury. He missed the Arizona game in Week 8 due to an ankle injury.

The Falcons hope to get the running game going against the Buccaneers, but Snelling might not have been a big part of the game plan, with the emphasis expected to be on starter Steven Jackson.

  • Covered Bears for seven seasons at Chicago Tribune
  • Also worked at Chicago Sun-Times, Fresno Bee
  • Honorable mention, Football Writers Association of America for enterprise writing, 2002

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