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Baylor QB gets probation after no-contest plea to drunken behavior

July 9, 1997

WACO, Texas (AP) _ Baylor quarterback Jeff Watson pleaded no contest to charges that he was drunk and disorderly at a downtown Waco restaurant last week.

Municipal Judge John Roberts ordered Watson to serve 90 days probation and deferred adjudication on Monday after the no-contest pleas to public intoxication and disorderly conduct counts.

That means no judgment of guilt will be recorded against Watson if he successfully completes probation, and the Class C misdemeanor charges will be dismissed.

Watson, who has been suspended indefinitely from the Baylor team, was not present at the hearing. His attorney, Rob Swanton, entered the pleas on Watson’s behalf. The 21-year-old senior quarterback from College Station could not be reached for comment Tuesday.

Baylor coach Dave Roberts said Watson’s status with the team ``is still very much in the air.″ Roberts said he will meet with Watson and his family later this week and try to decide whether he should stay on the team.

The judge also gave Watson credit for the night he spent in jail after his July 3 arrest. That will allow him to resolve an outstanding warrant against him for reckless exposure.

Swanton said Baylor campus police filed the charge in January 1996 for urinating in public. He said Watson had thought the case had been resolved and was unaware that a warrant had been issued for him.

Watson disputes police accounts of the July 3 incident and thinks the whole matter was blown out of proportion by the media, his attorney said.

``One of the reasons he is pleading no contest is in an attempt to put it behind him as quickly as possible,″ Swanton said. ``He wants to get on with his schooling, and he also doesn’t want to cause any more bad publicity for the university.

``He doesn’t feel as though he is guilty of the charges, and this is the simplest way to handle what amounts to a huge misunderstanding that was blown out of proportion,″ Swanton said.

Police said Watson appeared intoxicated about 1 a.m. July 3, when they were called to Cricket’s Bar and Grill because Watson was arguing with a female companion.

When officers asked him to go outside with them, Watson became belligerent with the officers, according to police reports.

Watson also could face disciplinary action from the university.

After spring practice, Watson had been selected to start at quarterback for the Bears in the Aug. 30 season opener in Waco against Miami.

Watson is seventh on Baylor’s all-time passing chart with 3,981 yards. Last year, he completed 67 of 127 passes for 858 yards and 10 touchdowns, with three interceptions.

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