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Texas CB arrested with gun, pot



Published: Tue, September 5, 2006 @ 12:00 a.m.



AUSTIN, Texas (AP) -- Texas cornerback Tarell Brown was arrested on misdemeanor drug and weapon charges early Monday, leaving his status in question for the No. 3 Longhorns' game with top-ranked Ohio State.

Brown, a senior starter, was arrested with Tyrell Gatewood, a backup junior linebacker and special teams player, and former Texas linebacker Aaron Harris.

Brown was charged with unlawfully carrying a weapon, a loaded 9 mm handgun, and possession of less than 2 ounces of marijuana. Gatewood and Harris were charged with the same drug misdemeanor.

The attorney for Brown and Gatewood said Gatewood legally purchased the gun earlier this year and that neither of them smoked the marijuana found in the car.

The gun charge carries a maximum penalty of one year in jail and a $4,000 fine. The drug charge carries a maximum of 180 days in a jail and a $2,000 fine.

Brown and Gatewood were released on personal recognizance bond and Harris remained in the Travis County jail Monday afternoon.

Not with the team

Coach Mack Brown said he met with both players and was "holding them out of all team functions as we gather as much information as possible before making a team decision."

Texas (1-0) and Ohio State (1-0) play in Austin on Saturday night.

If Brown is suspended, it could be a huge blow to a defensive unit considered the team's strength this season. Brown was likely to draw the assignment of covering Buckeye wide receiver Ted Ginn Jr., one of Ohio State's top playmakers.

The Longhorns could start junior Brandon Foster or sophomore Ryan Palmer. Foster has played in 22 games and Palmer in 10 last season.

Defensive co-coordinator Gene Chizik said the team remains "very focused."

"One thing that's awesome about the University of Texas, you have opportunities to have great depth," Chizik said.

Weaving erratically

According to the arrest affidavit filed by deputies, the three were in a car Harris was driving on Interstate 35 around 2:50 a.m. A deputy pulled over the car after watching it weave erratically and nearly strike another car.

Harris got out of the car when pulled over and Brown and Gatewood were asleep, according to the report. Harris passed a field sobriety test but told the deputy he had been smoking marijuana and there was "some" in the car

When deputies approached, they saw Brown in the back seat asleep with his hand on a gun in his lap. The officers also reported finding marijuana under the front seat and charged all three with possession.

Under state law, a person commits an offense if he intentionally, knowingly, or recklessly carries a handgun, illegal knife or club.

Attorney Jamie Balagia said Gatewood bought the gun at a store and left it in the car after going to a shooting range a couple of weeks earlier.

Balagia said Brown picked up the gun only after it slid out from under the front seat and intended to bring it inside when the players got home.

Unintentional explanation

"It was in his lap, but he was not intentionally violating the law," Balagia said.

Balagia also said Brown and Gatewood underwent urine tests at school Monday to prove they didn't smoke the marijuana.

Brown has 127 career tackles and three interceptions. He broke his arm in the second half of the Rose Bowl last year and had six tackles in a 56-7 win over North Texas.

Gatewood was a former wide receiver before switching to linebacker this season.

In 2003, Mack Brown suspended standout running back Cedric Benson, who was charged with criminal trespassing. He missed a game at Baylor.

Copyright 2006 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.




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