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Report: Lewis agrees to plea bargain.

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http://sports.yahoo.com/nfl/news?slug=jlewispleabargain&prov=st&type=lgns

October 2, 2004
BALTIMORE (Ticker) - Baltimore Ravens running back Jamal Lewis will play out the 2004 season and will not have to defend himself in November against federal drug conspiracy charges.

According to a report in the Baltimore Sun, Lewis has reached a plea-bargain agreement in his drug conspiracy case, allowing him to serve a four-to-six month prison sentence after the season is complete. The deal with with federal prosecutors was reached this week but has yet to be publicly announced.

According to sources familiar with the agreement, the 25-year-old Lewis will not have to submit to a scheduled trial in November, which could have resulted in a career-ending sentence of at least 10 years if he was convicted.

A public hearing on the deal is expected to take place late next week. U.S. District Judge Orinda D. Evans must give her approval before the sentence is finalized, but she is reportedly aware of the deal and no problems with the terms of the agreement are expected.

The NFL has been informed of the plea bargain, but Lewis said Friday that he knew nothing of the negotiations.

Lewis, who in 2003 had the second-best single-season rushing total in NFL history, is accused of conspiring to distribute cocaine for a childhood friend in June and July 2000. He pleaded not guilty to the charges in February.

In February, Lewis was indicted on one count of conspiracy to intentionally possess with the intent to distribute cocaine. A second count charges Lewis with using a cell phone to carry out the conspiracy.

Through the first three games of the 2004 season, Lewis has rushed for 305 yards and three touchdowns, helping the Ravens to a 2-1 record. He accumulated 186 yards in a 23-9 victory over the Cincinnati Bengals last week.

Lewis is the second star player of the Ravens to face serious charges in Atlanta. In 2000, perennial Pro Bowl middle linebacker Ray Lewis (no relation) was charged with two other men in the murder of two men in a street fight.

Ray Lewis pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor charge of obstruction of justice in exchange for the murder charges being dropped. He was fined $250,000 by the NFL.

The charges on Jamal Lewis date to two months after he was selected by the Ravens after his junior season in the first round of the draft. He played for Tennessee from 1997-99 after graduating from Douglass High School in Atlanta.

While in high school, Jamal Lewis was charged with shoplifting from a Macy's department store and was sentenced to three years probation.

In 2001, he was suspended four games for violating the NFL's substance abuse policy.

Last season, Jamal Lewis became the fifth running back in NFL history to run for 2,000 yards in a season, falling 39 shy of Eric Dickerson's record of 2,105 yards set in 1984. He eclipsed the single-game rushing record with 295 yards against Cleveland on September 14.

As a rookie in 2000, he rushed for 1,364 yards to help the Ravens to their first Super Bowl title. He missed the entire 2001 season with a torn right ACL suffered in practice.

Updated on Saturday, Oct 2, 2004 11:16 am ED
 
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