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Cocaine, gift card spell trouble for NFL player

Jeremy Simon

In the latest episode involving athletes, credit cards and crime, the combination of powder and plastic proved a troublesome cocktail for Jacksonville Jaguars wide receiver Matt Jones, who was arrested in Fayetteville, Ark., in the wee hours of Thursday morning on a felony drug charge.

Police found the National Football League player allegedly using a card to divvy up some cocaine. “Jones, 25, as well as two other men, were inside a Toyota 4Runner in Fayetteville just after 12:40 a.m. Thursday when officers approached,” the Associated Press says. “In a report, officers allege they saw a card covered in a white powder in Jones’ lap as he used a Foot Locker credit card to scrape it.”

However, some investigation by reveals that Foot Locker doesn’t have a credit card, but rather offers gift cards — in $10 to $500 denominations — which can currently be put toward a great deal on NFL hoodies.

Inside the sport utility vehicle, officers found a plastic bag containing “a white substance that tested positive for cocaine and a jar with possible marijuana residue inside.” When questioned, Jones admitted the powder was in fact cocaine, according to the police report.

Jones was booked into the Washington County jail for felony possession of a controlled substance, with an arraignment hearing scheduled for today, the AFP says.

Jones was a star quarterback at Arkansas and was later a first-round draft pick for the Jaguars in 2005, where he was made a wide receiver. In that role, Jones caught 77 passes for 1,075 yards and nine touchdowns in his first two NFL seasons, but struggled last year.

That struggle could soon be over following Jones’ cocaine-card fiasco. “The Jacksonville Jaguars and coach Jack Del Rio were looking for a reason to cut the guy; now they have it,” says editor Jim Harris.

This certainly won’t be the last time a ballplayer finds himself in trouble with the law. The question remains: Who will be the next athlete to get caught doing something unsavory with a credit card in hand?

Blog update: Matt Jones was back in jail on March 9, 2009, after a random drug test in February showed he tested positive for alcohol, according a report by the Associated Press. Jones’ drinking violated the terms of a plea deal that barred him from using drugs or alcohol. Meanwhile, female Jones fans can purchase his replica NFL jersey from Foot Locker for a discounted price of $39.99.

See related: Basketball star’s perks allegedly charged to nonprofit’s credit card

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  • Lawrence Brooks

    although it does not look pretty for Matt Jones now, I believe in his ability to chang. He has had it so easy for so long, and has had the joy of being so gifted, and so adored that he had not the time to grow as a person. It’s obvious that he knows how to keep cool, but now is his true testing ground. I personally do not believe in calling these guys role models because they usually are not. I just believe in them as a peron. Matt’s crime would be better punished by making him have to give back to communities like the delta in Arkansas serving as a teacher for a certian amount of years. This would be perfect for reality television and a growing experience for him. Don’t throw the towel in on him yet.