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Prosecutor: Ex-NFL Lineman May Face Prison

June 28, 1996

PHOENIX (AP) _ A prison cell may await former NFL lineman Luis Sharpe when he recovers from a still unexplained gunshot wound, a spokesman for the Maricopa County attorney said.

Sharpe, an offensive lineman for 13 seasons with the St. Louis and Phoenix Cardinals, remained hospitalized in serious but stable condition Thursday with a gunshot wound in the neck, said Sgt. Mike McCullough, a police spokesman.

McCullough said police have no suspects in Tuesday night’s shooting.

``There’s no clear-cut motive,″ McCullough said Thursday. ``He hasn’t been cooperating with us so it’s kind of hard for us to find out what happened.″

An arrest warrant was issued for Sharpe on Monday after he failed to show up for the next phase of his drug rehabilitation program. He turned up Tuesday night when police, responding to a call from his girlfriend’s mother, found him walking down a street with a bullet wound in his neck.

Judge Michael Ryan of Maricopa County Superior Court ordered the drug treatment when he sentenced Sharpe to three years’ probation in May. Sharpe pleaded guilty on April 24 to possessing drug paraphernalia and no contest to aggravated assault before admitting he had been a drug addict for most of his 13 NFL seasons.

If it is determined that he did not comply with the terms of his probation, Sharpe could face up to four years in prison, said Bill FitzGerald, a spokesman for the county attorney. He said prosecutors would recommend prison time, based on Sharpe’s failure to complete the drug treatment program.

``There was an agreement and he didn’t live up to it,″ FitzGerald said. ``The judge is going to have to listen to what he has to say and decide whether to give any weight to it.″

FitzGerald said Sharpe would be booked on a probation violation charge after he is released from the hospital. Then, in 7 to 20 days, he would have a ``revocation arraignment″ at which he would plead guilty or innocent to the charge.

A hearing would be held after another 7 to 20 days, and he would be sentenced 7 to 20 days after that.

``That means all this could happen in as little three weeks or as long as 60 days,″ he said.

Police said Sharpe fought with police Tuesday night despite his bullet wound and could face an additional charge of aggravated assault on a police officer.

Sharpe had been shot late last year after being robbed in what police described as an area known for drug dealing and prostitution. That time he was found sitting on a curb nursing an arm wound.

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