Ex-Eagle Rayburn pleads guilty in drug case

Sam Rayburn, the former Eagles defensive tackle who was arrested in March for trying to forge painkiller prescriptions in his hometown of Chickasha, Okla., pleaded guilty to two felony charges Monday, his attorney said yesterday.

Under the plea agreement, Rayburn, 28, will avoid a prison term and enter a probationary "Drug Court" program administered by the State of Oklahoma, his attorney said.

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Sam Rayburn pleaded guilty in a drug case in Oklahoma.

The program for first offenders, which takes at least 18 months to complete, includes mandatory meetings with counselors, community service, and random drug testing.

"Then it's like a regular probation: You can't violate laws, there's a curfew set, you can't touch alcohol or drugs or possess firearms," said Al Hoch, Rayburn's attorney. "As soon as he's successful, it's dismissed. The downside, if you're not successful, you get 10 years in the Department of Corrections. There's a heavy incentive to be successful."

Rayburn, who completed a 45-day treatment program after his arrest, could not be reached for comment yesterday. In an interview earlier this year, Rayburn said he first began taking painkillers, and hiding his use of them from trainers and coaches, during his time with the Eagles from 2003 to 2006. After retiring from the NFL the next year because of injuries, he became addicted to painkillers, Rayburn said, and eventually took as many as 100 a day.

"It all stemmed from playing football," Rayburn said of the pain. "My knee, my elbow, some spinal problems - if I was to bend down, I couldn't stand up. Immobility was really the only thing that could alleviate the pain - or medication, obviously. Most of the orthopedic [specialists] I've gone to say I'm going to need a knee replacement."

"He walks with a limp," Hoch said yesterday. "From talking to him, I think with linemen [use and abuse of painkillers] is a real serious problem. The way he describes it, it's like being in 50 or 60 car wrecks in the course of a game."

Hoch said it was possible that Rayburn would be able to fulfill the community-service requirement by helping out with a local high school football team. He also would be required to work a regular job.

Two Chickasha men, ages 18 and 23, also were arrested and charged with one felony count for allegedly trying to fill a forged prescription for Rayburn. Neither man has had a preliminary hearing yet. The Grady County District Attorney's Office did not return phone calls yesterday.

 


Contact staff writer Mike Jensen at 215-854-4489 or mjensen@phillynews.com.