MOBILE, Ala. (AP) _ A federal jury convicted former NFL player Sherman Williams on Wednesday of charges of conspiracy and attempting to possess marijuana in a multistate operation.

Williams, a former University of Alabama and Dallas Cowboys running back, was found innocent on one minor charge in the four-count indictment of attempting to distribute marijuana. That charge related to three pounds of marijuana seized from a cohort.

Williams was convicted of three charges involving seizures in Texas and Alabama of up to 1,000 pounds of marijuana.

The 27-year-old former player gave a thumbs-up sign to his mother and girlfriend as the verdict was read.

``It was an `I'm OK' sign,'' defense attorney Robert Clark said later. ``This is not going to ruin Sherman Williams.''

Williams agreed to forfeit $235,000 to the U.S. government, which prosecutors allege came from the marijuana operation. U.S. District Judge Charles Butler set sentencing for March 22. Williams could be sentenced to up to 40 years in prison.

Clark said the verdict was ``terrible, and obviously disappointing.''

In closing arguments, he said the government ``put a bull's-eye'' on Williams, while collecting prosecution testimony and giving lenient sentences to those who transported the marijuana.

Clark said Williams had been paid $2 million from 1995-99 from the Cowboys and didn't need money. Williams played for the Cowboys, mostly as a backup tailback, during 1995-98. He returned to the Cowboys last year, but didn't make the team. Williams played on the Crimson Tide's 1992 national championship team.