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Miami LB Accepts Three Years’ Probation

January 17, 2003

MIAMI (AP) _ Miami Dolphins linebacker Derrick Rodgers pleaded no contest Friday to charges he attacked his wife and a man at a South Beach restaurant, and was placed on three years’ probation.

A one-game NFL suspension is likely. The league’s security department will investigate the case before making a recommendation.

Rodgers, accompanied by his wife, Kareff, pleaded no contest to two felonies, aggravated battery with a deadly weapon and resisting an officer with violence, and three misdemeanors: battery, assault and a violation of a domestic violence injunction. Afterward, Rodgers declined to comment.

According to police, the 6-foot-1, 235-pound Rodgers found his wife sitting with William Peguero at a Miami Beach restaurant last July and accused them of having an affair.

When Peguero started to stand, Rodgers grabbed a metal chair and hit him over the head, cutting him, police said. Rodgers kicked his wife as she tried to pick up her purse, and punched her in the chest as she got up from the floor, police said.

The linebacker later apologized to police officers, telling one, ``I lost my mind.″ He also apologized to Peguero and offered to pay for his medical bills, court documents said.

Under terms of the deal, Rodgers can ask to get off probation after 18 months if he stays out of legal trouble. Adjudication will be withheld, meaning that Rodgers will have no criminal record if he completes probation.

He will take 26 weekly classes in a domestic batterers intervention program. He must make written apologies to Peguero, the arresting police officer and a female friend who was with his wife and was allegedly threatened by Rodgers.

He must complete 100 hours of community service and make a $500 donation to a domestic violence shelter. He also must stay away from Peguero and have no violent contact with his wife, whom he married in June 2001.

Peguero has sued Rodgers for a minimum $15,000 in damages. That case is still pending.

Rodgers, who would have been a first-time offender if convicted, faced up to 20 years in prison on the felony charges and a maximum of 2 1/2 years in jail on the misdemeanor charges.

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