Dolphins linebacker pays fine for punching rival in Las Vegas
LAS VEGAS -- Miami Dolphins linebacker Joey Porter pleaded no contest Wednesday and paid a $1,000 fine for punching Cincinnati Bengals offensive lineman Levi Jones after a disagreement at a casino blackjack table.
Porter did not appear in Las Vegas Justice Court while his lawyer, Karen Winckler, entered the plea to a misdemeanor battery charge and paid the fine, said a court aide to Justice of the Peace Pro Tem James Gubler. Gubler accepted the plea.
Winckler did not immediately respond to messages seeking comment.
Porter, 30, and Jones, 27, scuffled March 18 inside the Palms hotel-casino and in the valet area after exchanging words at the blackjack table, prosecutor Brian Rutledge said. He said Porter could have faced up to six months in jail and the $1,000 fine. Jones was not charged.
Jones, who suffered a cut on his forehead, said Porter "approached him to fight because they argue on the football field," according to a police report. The report says Porter threw the first punch.
Porter, 6-foot-3 and 250 pounds, left the Pittsburgh Steelers after eight years and signed a five-year, $32 million deal with the Dolphins in March. Jones, 6-5 and 307 pounds, missed much of last season with a knee injury.
The NFL has been cracking down on off-field misbehavior since Roger Goodell became commissioner last summer. Porter's plea is certain to draw the league's attention.
The two players had a history of on-field trash talking with each other when the Steelers and Bengals played twice a year in the AFC North.
Dolphins coach Cam Cameron issued a statement in Miami crediting Porter with informing the team of the incident.
"Joey has been upfront and honest with me since joining our team," Cameron said. "He fully understands the type of character we expect from our players, both on and off the field, and I am confident he will learn from this."
Neither Jones nor the Bengals had any comment, Bengals spokesman Jack Brennan said Wednesday from Cincinnati.
Copyright 2007 by The Associated Press
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