Mike Goodson rejects plea deal

New York Jets running back Mike Goodson pleaded not guilty to two weapons-possession charges at his arraignment Wednesday in Morris County (N.J.) Superior Court.

It was the latest development in Goodson's brief but tumultuous time with the Jets.

Two months after signing a three-year, $6.9 million free-agent contract, Goodson and an acquaintance were arrested last May when police found their vehicle stopped in the middle of a New Jersey highway at 3 a.m. A loaded Taurus .45 caliber handgun, with an illegal hollow-point bullet, was found in the glove box of the SUV, authorities said.

Goodson was indicted in November on charges of second-degree unlawful possession of a weapon and fourth-degree prohibited weapons and devices. Police said both Goodson and the driver, Garant Evans, were intoxicated.

Goodson also was charged with possession of marijuana.

Each faces at least three years in prison if convicted.

Goodson served a four-game suspension at the start of last season for violating the NFL's substance-abuse policy, and he's subject to additional discipline by the league if he's found in violation of the personal-conduct policy.

The key issue in the case is determining ownership of the gun; both defendants claim they didn't own it.

Goodson's attorney, Anthony Fusco, said in a phone interview that he's planning to file a motion claiming police didn't have a search warrant to seize the gun from a locked glove box.

"We're filing papers contesting the legality of the search," Fusco said. "If they remove the gun as evidence, the whole thing will go away."

Evans' attorney will file the same motion, Fusco said.

Goodson rejected a plea deal in court. The prosecutor said that if Goodson pleaded guilty to second-degree possession of a weapon, he'd have to serve one year of a three-year sentence before becoming eligible for parole.

"We're not taking any plea deal," Fusco said.

The next court date is tentatively scheduled for Feb. 26.

Goodson played in only two games for the Jets. He was excused from training camp to receive substance-abuse counseling and was suspended upon his return in late August. He returned in Week 5, contributing to a victory over the Atlanta Falcons. The following week, Goodson suffered a season-ending knee injury that required surgery.

He finished with seven carries for 61 yards and two receptions for 19 yards.

After the arraignment, Goodson told The Star-Ledger of Newark that he's happy with his post-surgical rehab and expects to be in training camp.

"I'm working on stretching my leg out," he told the newspaper.