Convicted steroids dealer who gave names to NFL found dead

PLANO, Texas -- A convicted steroids dealer who recently met with NFL security officials and gave them names of players he said bought steroids from him has been found dead in his home.

Early Thursday morning, Plano police made a welfare check and found 35-year-old David Jacobs and 30-year-old Amanda Jo Earhart-Savell dead. Both had been shot.

Officer Rick McDonald, a police spokesman, said the officers were making a welfare check after relatives of Earhart-Savell expressed concern about her whereabouts.

According to the Dallas Morning News, which first reported the story, Jacobs and Earhart-Savell had been in an on-again, off-again relationship, and at one point were engaged to be married.

Heather Bowden, also a spokeswoman for the Plano police, told the New York Times in a telephone interview, "At this point, it is a homicide investigation, and we have no reason to believe otherwise."

Jacobs was sentenced to three years of probation and fined $25,000 on May 1 after pleading guilty last year in federal court in Dallas to conspiring to possess with intent to distribute anabolic steroids.

According to ESPN the Magazine senior writer Shaun Assael, who had been in contact with Jacobs throughout May, Jacobs was reticent and nervous about the information he had and the people it implicated.

When explaining why he did not want to go public, Jacobs said: "The kinds of people I know about could put a bullet in the back of my head."

Jacobs's father, also named David, of Jasper, Ga., told The Times in a telephone interview that he received a call from an anonymous person, who told Jacobs to call the Plano police. Jacobs said police were unable to tell him much about what might have transpired.

"I spoke with David through a text message about three or four days ago, and he said he was fine," Jacobs told The Times. "He has been trying to rebuild his life. He got crossed with some bad things and made some bad choices. At this point, I am just beside myself."

The Morning News reported it had spoken with Jacobs frequently and exchanged e-mails with him as recently as last weekend. Jacobs had sought to rebuild his nutritional supplement business, but he was experiencing financial problems and having trouble getting his old client base to work with him, according to the report.

On May 21, Jacobs met with NFL security officials in the Dallas area and gave them names of players he said bought steroids from him, according to Hank Hockeimer, his lawyer.

Hockeimer told the newspaper on Thursday he had not yet been briefed about the situation at Jacobs' house.

The NFL requested the meeting after Jacobs was sentenced to three years of probation on May 1 for a single count of conspiracy to distribute anabolic steroids. He had cooperated with federal authorities since his arrest last year.

"We offer our sympathy to the families of David Jacobs and Amanda Jo Earhart-Savell," the league said in a statement. "As we have previously confirmed, our security representatives interviewed David Jacobs on two occasions. We are reviewing the information to determine if there is documented evidence establishing any violations of our program and will follow up on any other information that is provided.

"It is premature to comment on any specific player at this time. Anyone found to have violated our policies will be subject to discipline, including suspension. We will continue to be responsive to any needs of law enforcement on this matter."

Neighbors who were still gathered at the scene about 12 hours after officers arrived said they became aware of Jacobs through television news reports, but didn't know him well. They said they didn't see any suspicious activity or hear any gunshots.

One neighbor who reached out to Jacobs after his guilty plea by asking him to warn children about the dangers of drugs said she didn't believe police when they told her he was dead.

"Knowing somebody died this way, it's hard to take," Yeharerwerk Gashaw said. "I was shocked."

By his own account, Jacobs was a prolific salesman, moving 1,000 bottles of anabolic steroids a month and an equal number of growth hormone kits that he obtained illicitly from China.

Hockeimer had said that league officials seemed "genuinely interested" in what Jacobs had to say, as well as in canceled checks and e-mails that he provided.

Jacobs has publicly acknowledged that he dealt primarily with two NFL players and earlier identified one of them as offensive lineman Matt Lehr.

Last month, Jacobs told the Morning News that Lehr purchased tens of thousands of dollars of steroids and growth hormone from the spring of 2006 to the spring of 2007. He also told the paper that Lehr agreed to have boxes of raw steroid powder from China shipped directly to his Georgia home.

Lehr served a four-game suspension while a member of the Atlanta Falcons in October 2006 after he tested positive for a banned substance. He spent last season with Tampa Bay and was acquired by the Saints in the offseason.

Lehr's attorney, Paul Coggins, has said the player hasn't used banned substances since he was suspended and has since passed NFL drug tests. The attorney has also said Jacobs' allegations are retaliation because Lehr wouldn't pay Jacobs' legal fees.

After his sentencing, Jacobs told The New York Times that he hoped to tell league officials about "loopholes in their program." He also said he'd advised about 10 players to use finasteride, a drug to treat balding, because it masks steroid use.

Information from ESPN the Magazine senior writer Shaun Assael and The Associated Press was used in this report.