Tampa Bay Buccaneers defensive end Da’Quan Bowers was charged with two counts of criminal possession of a weapon after authorities found he had a handgun in his suitcase at New York’s LaGuardia Airport.
Bowers, 22, was arraigned last night at Queens Criminal Court and posted $10,000 bond, according to a spokeswoman for Queens County District Attorney Richard A. Brown. The Buccaneers said in a statement they’re aware of the case and had no further comment.
Bowers has a court date scheduled for April 25 on the charges, which carry a minimum prison sentence of 3 1/2 years. Former New York Giants receiver Plaxico Burress faced the same charge after accidentally shooting himself in the leg at a Manhattan nightclub in 2008. Burress was sentenced to two years in jail after he pleaded guilty to a state charge of attempted possession of a weapon and served a 20-month sentence.
Bowers was arrested after informing a ticket agent that he had an unloaded .40-caliber handgun in his suitcase ahead of a flight from New York to Raleigh, North Carolina. He didn’t try to go through security with the weapon, according to the Queens County District Attorney’s office. The gun was licensed in South Carolina, though Bowers didn’t have a license to carry it in New York, the New York Daily News said, citing authorities it didn’t identify.
“After a full and fair investigation of the facts and circumstances regarding this registered firearm, Mr. Bowers will be fully exonerated,” Bowers’s lawyer, Dennis Coppin, said in an e-mail.
The 6-foot-4, 288-pound Bowers was a second-round pick of the Buccaneers in the 2011 National Football League draft out of Clemson University in South Carolina. He had three sacks in 10 games last season after missing the Buccaneers’ first six games while recovering from a torn Achilles tendon.