December 20, 2014

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Browns’ Shaun Rogers facing suspension for gun incident

CLEVELAND — Browns nose tackle Shaun Rogers won’t be going to jail, but he will likely be suspended by the NFL.

Rogers, who was facing felony charges for carrying a loaded handgun onto an airplane, will be placed into a 12-month diversion program but avoid prison, according to a report posted on cleve­land. com.

The 31-year-old had pleaded not guilty to the charge, which carries a maximum penalty of 18 months behind bars. Rogers was arrested with the firearm in his carry­on bag as he attempted to board an April 1 flight to Houston at Cleveland Hopkins International Airport.

According to the report, the Pro Bowl defensive lineman will be required to complete a 10-hour weapons course and 40 hours of community service. Rogers’ felony charges will be dropped once he fulfills terms of the agreement that will be finalized Thursday in Cuyahoga County Common Pleas Court.

With his legal situation about to be set­tled, there is no reason Rogers won’t be in uniform when the Browns begin training camp in Berea on July 31.

However, that doesn’t figure to be the case when Cleveland begins its regular season Sept. 12 in Tampa Bay.

Rogers’ arrest and imminent punish­ment makes him eligible for a suspension under the NFL’s Personal Conduct Policy, likely one or two games. League spokesman Greg Aiello said his status “is being reviewed under our policies … now that the matter has been resolved in court.” The 6-foot-4, 350-pounder has one previ­ous suspension under his belt, receiving a four-game ban by the NFL in 2006 for violat­ing its illegal substance policy. Rogers was a member of the Lions at that time and said he unintentionally used a weight-loss prod­uct that contained ephedrine, which is banned by the league.

“Clearly, Shaun made a mistake, but we will deal with those decisions at some point in the future,” Browns president Mike Holmgren said following Rogers’ arrest. “We are going to let the process work itself out before I make any different type of statement.”

Fellow Cleveland defensive lineman Robaire Smith is also facing criminal charges for “possession of a firearm in the sterile area of a commercial airport” in his native Flint, Mich.

Genesee County prosecutor David Ley­ton opted to file lesser misdemeanor charges against Smith, who was arrested at Bishop Airport as he was about to take a flight to Atlanta in November. He faces a maximum sentence of one year in jail.

Ticket time

Single-game tickets for all Browns regular­season and preseason games go on sale Saturday at 10 a.m. They will be available online at ClevelandBrowns.com and through all Ticketmaster outlets.

Fans can also purchase seats at the Cleveland Browns Stadium box office, but not until Monday morning.

The Browns’ home schedule features visits from AFC North Division rivals Pittsburgh, Cincinnati and Baltimore, along with games against Kansas City, Atlanta, New England, Carolina and the New York Jets. Their preseason guests are St. Louis and Chicago.

Season-ticket packages, three-game mini plans and group tickets — all at a discount from gate prices — remain available through the team at (440) 824-3434.

Former Pro Bowler Morin dies at 67

Longtime Browns tight end Milt Morin — a 2010 inductee to the Col­lege Football Hall of Fame — passed away Friday in Northampton, Mass., at the age of 67.

Along with Pro Football Hall of Famer Ozzie Newsome, Morin is considered one of the top two players at the posi­tion in Cleveland history. The University of Massachusetts product played 10 years with the Browns, amassing 271 receptions for 4,208 yards.

He made the Pro Bowl in 1968, ’69 and ’72.

Morin’s wife Ellen, son Monte and daughter Ellen will represent him at the HOF ceremonies in South Bend, Ind.

Contact Brian Dulik at brisports@hotmail.com.