Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Bucs DE Bowers has New York gun charges reduced
Tampa Bay Buccaneers defensive end Da’Quan Bowers got back to focusing solely on football Thursday after two gun charges against him were reduced in a Queens County New York court.
Bowers’ case was “sealed,’’ attorney Dennis Coppin said, after Bowers agreed to a deal in which two felony charges of criminal possession of a weapon in the second degree were reduced to a disorderly conduct violation.
Bowers pled guilty to the lesser charge, Coppin said, and paid a $250 fine and a $120 surcharge before heading back to Tampa to begin preparation for the Bucs’ offseason workout program, which begins Monday.
“I feel the New York District Attorney’s Office did a full and fair investigation in this case and that their conclusion was justified,’’ Coppin said after the court hearing.
The original felony charges stemmed from a Feb. 19 incident in which authorities said Bowers arrived at a LaGuardia Airport airline check-in counter with a .40 caliber firearm in his luggage.
Bowers alerted airline and TSA personnel to the presence of the firearm, which is registered in his name in the state of Florida. He was arrested because it is illegal to carry a handgun in New York, authorities said.
“There was no criminal intent whatsoever on (Bowers’) part,’’ Coppin said. “He simply made an honest mistake after realizing he had the gun in his possession. He tried to do the right thing.’’
Bowers did not realize the gun was in a bag he packed after his girlfriend surprised him with a trip to New York, Coppin said.
Bowers, 22, was arrested and released from a New York jail a day later after posting $10,000 bond.
The original gun charges were considered Class C felonies in New York, which carry a mandatory minimum sentence of 3½ years in prison and a maximum sentence of 15 years in prison.
The disorderly conduct violation to which Bowers pled guilty does not carry the threat of jail time and will not leave Bowers with a criminal record, according to Coppin, who predicted weeks ago Bowers would be “fully exonerated’’ of the charges.
Bowers, who appeared at the court hearing, could not be reached for comment and Bucs officials did not respond to a request for comment Thursday.
A second-round pick out of Clemson in the 2011 draft, Bowers is expected to take over as Tampa Bay’s starting left end after the loss of Michael Bennett in free agency to the Seattle Seahawks.
Bowers played in all 16 games as a rookie, but missed the first six games of last season while recovering from a torn Achilles tendon. He had 13 tackles (10 solo), three sacks and a pass defense in the final 10 games.
BUCS SIGNING: Tampa Bay signed wide receiver Eric Page on Thursday. Page caught 125 passes for Toledo during the 2011 season before signing with the Broncos as an undrafted free agent in 2012.