Henry pleads guilty, will avoid jail time

By Travis Reed The Associated Press

ORLANDO, Fla. – Cincinnati Bengals wide receiver Chris Henry avoided jail time by pleading guilty yesterday to a concealed weapon charge for pulling a weapon during a fight, one of four arrests he has had in the past 10 months.

In exchange for the plea, Henry will be on probation for two years, serve 100 hours of community service, attend a firearms safety class and forfeit the 9 mm gun he used during the skirmish in downtown Orlando.

Circuit Judge John Kest agreed to not send Henry to jail, despite his guilty plea to a marijuana possession charge in March in Kentucky. Neither Kest nor prosecutors mentioned that in court.

Henry had a reputation as a potential problem even before the Bengals drafted him two years ago.

“I’d like to say I know I made a mistake, but I’m just trying to, you know what I’m saying, turn all of this into a positive,” he said outside the courthouse. “I just want to get back to playing football. It’s what I do.”

Henry was arrested Jan. 28 in Orlando after a police officer saw him raise a handgun during a fight. The officer pulled his weapon and ordered Henry to drop the gun, loaded with eight hollow-point bullets and one “snake shot” round, which produces a spread of pellets similar to a shotgun, according to prosecutors. The gun had been listed as stolen by the Pasco County Sheriff’s Office.

Henry was originally charged with felony possession of a concealed firearm, improper exhibition of a firearm and aggravated assault with a firearm, but prosecutors dropped all but the concealed possession count.

Henry pleaded guilty to the marijuana charge in Kentucky, avoiding jail time after completing a drug rehabilitation program.

He was arrested in June and charged with speeding and drunken driving in suburban Cincinnati, and that month pleaded not guilty in Covington, Ky., to charges that he provided alcohol to three underage females.

The misdemeanor DUI charges in Clermont County, Ohio, are still pending, with the next hearing set for Oct. 19.

It wasn’t clear how or if Henry may be disciplined by the league. NFL spokesman Steve Alic said he couldn’t comment specifically on the case.

Under NFL rules, anyone convicted of or admitting to a criminal violation, including a plea to a lesser offense, is subject to discipline determined by the league commissioner.

Usually Cincinnati’s third-string receiver, Henry filled in for injured wideout T.J. Houshmandzadeh against the Kansas City Chiefs on Sunday. He had one reception for a loss of 5 yards.