Former NFL running back and Immokalee football star Javarris James was arrested by Collier County sheriff’s deputies Monday afternoon on a warrant out of Hillsborough County, leaving another negative mark on a once-promising career.
James, 26, was wanted for failing to appear in court for a misdemeanor marijuana possession charge, according to an arrest report. He has been released on a $1,500 bond.
The case stems from an arrest in late September in Tampa, when police reported finding 1.3 grams of pot in the sunglasses holder of James’ 2011 Chrysler 300, according to an arrest report. When the Tampa police officer approached his vehicle, the officer smelled a strong odor of marijuana coming from the vehicle, according to Hillsborough County court records.
James told a police officer that he and two friends, who were passengers in the car, had smoked pot while on the way to the AJA Channelside nightclub, reports said. He said he was not aware the marijuana was inside the sunglasses holder or they would have smoked it, too, reports said.
Police said they also found an open liquor bottle in the car.
Attempts to reach James, who lives in Bradenton, on his cellphone and a phone number listed in the police report weren’t successful Tuesday.
James was previously arrested in March 2013 for failure to appear in court for a hearing related to a June 2011 arrest on a marijuana possession charge. The March arrest came less than a month after the NFL announced James was suspended for four games for violating the league’s substance abuse policy.
“It disappoints me,” said John Weber, who coached James in high school. “He never got in trouble in high school. He was always one of the hardest workers.”
Weber said he had hoped James would learn from his first arrest in 2011. Weber was the coach in 2004 when Immokalee won a state championship led by James, then a junior. The former Indians coach said he hasn’t spoken to James since seeing him at an Immokalee High School football game last fall.
“I know he’s not a bad kid,” Weber said, “but when you don’t see someone for a long time, things change.”
James is currently a free agent. He was signed by the Indianapolis Colts as an undrafted free agent in 2010 after starring at the University of Miami. He is the younger cousin of former Colts and Immokalee star Edgerrin James.
During Edgerrin James’ youth football camp in Ave Maria in July, Javarris James told the Daily News he was trying to recover from his mistakes. That included trying to get back into the NFL. He we was working out in Naples to make sure his knee was fully recovered from an ACL tear a year prior.
“I messed up in the past. I accept that,” James said at the time. “I’m just trying to be right.”
As a rookie in 2010, Javarris James scored six touchdowns in 10 games for the Colts, but was out of the league the next year following the first marijuana arrest. He signed with the Arizona Cardinals before the 2012 season, but tore his ACL in the final preseason game.
On Oct. 24, he had a court hearing in Hillsborough County in front of Judge Paul T. Jeske. No one appeared for the court hearing, according to court records. He had a second hearing Feb 27, and again no one appeared.
Since he didn’t appear for the Feb. 27 hearing, an arrest warrant was issued.
Tribune Staff Writer Jose G. Patino contributed to this report.