Released on bail
Jets' Robinson charged with weapons possession
Updated: Wednesday October 17, 2001 1:53 PM
The arrest took place in East Rutherford, N.J., several hours before the Jets beat the Miami Dolphins on Sunday. Robinson, a free safety, played in the game.
Police found in the trunk of Robinson's truck a Bushmaster .223 assault rifle, three high-capacity magazines that hold 30 rounds each, and two boxes of ammunition containing 100 rounds each. The rifle and the magazines are illegal under a 1990 New Jersey law that bans the sale and possession of many kinds of automatic weapons.
Robinson could face up to five years in prison if convicted. He was released Sunday night on his own recognizance, and the matter will be turned over to the county prosecutor. He has waived arraignment.
Robinson released a statement Tuesday through the Jets.
"I went to the shooting range with a rifle that was legally purchased," said Robinson, who also will undergo counseling and perform community service, as prescribed by the Jets. "I inadvertently left it in the back of my truck when I went to the stadium with my family. It was closed up in a case and not loaded.
"I sincerely apologize to my family, the New York Jets organization, my teammates and the many fans of the New York Jets. I have and will continue to cooperate fully with the authorities."
Robinson was entering the players' parking lot at about 10 a.m. with his wife and two daughters when police searched his truck, a procedure in place for players, team and game officials and media since the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, State Police Sgt. Al Della Fave said Tuesday.
A bomb-sniffing dog checked the vehicle, and "he reacted positively to the presence of explosives" in the back of the car, Della Fave said. Robinson then told authorities he had a rifle, clips and ammunition in the back.
"It was very innocent in that respect -- he genuinely forgot [he left] it," said Jimmy Gould, Robinson's agent. "It's an innocent mistake, he made a huge mistake here. He has to deal with it now and it will not be easy for him. "We support what the club has done."
Robinson was signed away from Tampa Bay as a free agent before this season. Under his five-year, $10 million deal, Robinson will lose about $30,000 this week.
Robinson was recruited by first-year Jets head coach Herman Edwards, who was a defensive backfield coach with the Buccaneers.
"It's a mistake he made and obviously he will pay the price for it," Edwards said Tuesday. "Knowing Damien -- I have been around him for some time -- this is really uncharacteristic of him. He is taking the blame for it, and rightfully so.
"He has to deal with his family and he let his family down. I know what kind of person he is, a good man, I don't think he had any intent about this. He forgot."
Edwards said the NFL concurred with the Jets' disciplinary moves.
"It is entirely up to the commissioner to have the last say, but they felt it was appropriate at this time," Edwards said. "At this point, they felt OK with the fine and what we planned to do."
Robinson also was arrested in September 2000 for bouncing a check to the tax collector. Gould said it was merely a case of Robinson's wife closing a checking account without her husband's knowledge. Robinson subsequently wrote an $80 check against the account.