SAN DIEGO -- Chargers starting strong safety Terrence Kiel
will miss Sunday's game at Baltimore following his arrest at team
headquarters on felony drug charges.
Drug Enforcement Administration officials said Wednesday that
Kiel admitted to shipping at least two parcels of prescription
cough syrup to Texas. While Kiel did not tell the DEA his motive,
the agency in Texas has found widespread abuse of codeine-based
cough syrup mixed with soft drinks or drugs and referred to as
"lean," said John S. Fernandes, the special agent in charge of
the San Diego office.
A pint bottle of "lean" can cost between $200 and $325 on the
street, he said.
Kiel grew up in Lufkin, about 120 miles north of Houston, and
played at Texas A&M.
Chargers general manager A.J. Smith said Kiel would be paid even
though he will miss Sunday's game at Baltimore.
"He's been informed to stay home and take care of personal
business," Smith said, adding that Kiel is due back with the team
"I'm really not interested at this point in commenting on
anything about the matter," coach Marty Schottenheimer said.
Clinton Hart, who will start in Kiel's spot, said the defensive
backs met Wednesday morning.
"We have to regroup and make that fist a little bit tighter.
Kiel's still our boy and we're supporting him 100 percent," Hart
said. "We're going to go out there and win this game with him on
Kiel was arrested on two counts of transporting a controlled
substance and three counts of possession for sale of a controlled
substance. He is scheduled to be arraigned on Tuesday.
The DEA is investigating where Kiel got the cough syrup, who
else may be involved and the intent.
Two federal law enforcement officials, speaking on condition of
anonymity because of the ongoing investigation, said quart bottles
full of what appears to be prescription cough syrup were found at
Kiel's house. Both officials said Kiel admitted to financial
difficulties when interviewed by agents.
Kiel is making $500,000 this year, his fourth with the Chargers.
The player was jailed Tuesday and released on bail.
Kiel's agent, Vann McElroy, said he couldn't comment on
specifics of the case.
"Terrence is a good kid. We just have to wait and see,"
Fernandes said the two shipments Kiel admitted to sending to
Texas each contained prescription cough syrup that had been
repackaged in pint-sized water bottles.
On Tuesday, Kiel was called off the practice field after
authorities arrived at Chargers headquarters. Kiel was taken into
the locker room, detained and read his rights, Fernandes said. His
locker wasn't searched, but authorities searched his car, then took
him to his house to execute a search warrant.
According to an affidavit for a search warrant made public
Wednesday, FedEx managers searched a package Kiel mailed with his
FedEx account in June and found 15 bottles of Prometh prescription
cough syrup in the box. A boarding pass found inside the box led
DEA agents to an address Kiel used to register a car. Three bottles
of Prometh were seized last week at that address.
Kiel paid cash to send a second package to Texas last Thursday,
prompting a FedEx manager to contact the DEA, according to the
Fernandes said codeine-based cough syrup can be used to enhance,
mitigate or temper other drugs, including cocaine and PCP.
"It goes right to the heart of what really is fueling an
already out-of-control, raging fire of abuse of pharmaceutical
drugs," Fernandes said.
Kiel was a second-round draft pick in 2003.
Three months after being drafted, Kiel was shot three times
during an attempted carjacking in Houston. Kiel returned to play in
all 16 games as a rookie, including eight starts.
It was the second run-in with the law by a Chargers player this month.
Outside linebacker Steve Foley was shot three times outside his
suburban home on Sept. 3 by an off-duty Coronado police officer who
suspected him of drunk driving. Foley will miss the entire season
and forfeit at least $775,000 in pay.
"I'm very disappointed and very concerned," Smith said. "I'm
not the least bit happy with all these things."