Mike Garafolo, USA TODAY Sports
Tampa Bay Buccaneers defensive end Da'Quan Bowers was arrested after a loaded .40-caliber gun was discovered in his bag at LaGuardia Airport in New York on Monday morning, Meris Campbell, a spokeswoman for the Queens District Attorney's office, confirmed.
Campbell said Bowers will be charged on two counts of criminal possession of a weapon on the second degree - the same charges levied against former New York Giants wide receiver Plaxico Burress in 2008. The charges carry a minimum sentence of 3½ years in prison.
Burress, whose gun accidentally discharged in a Manhattan night club, later accepted a plea deal to a lesser charge (attempted criminal possession of a weapon) and served 20 months in prison.
Bowers, a hot prospect coming out of Clemson who fell to the second round of the 2011 NFL draft because of concerns about his knee, was waiting to be arraigned and will have a hearing this evening, Campbell said.
According to Campbell, Bowers did not try to go through security with his Smith & Wesson firearm. When he got to the check-in counter, he told airline employees he had a gun in his bag, Campbell said. She did not have any information on Bowers' reasoning for having the gun in his bag.
Bowers, 22, began this past season on the physically-unable-to-perform list after tearing his Achilles' tendon in May. He was activated in October, played in 10 games and recorded three sacks.
The Buccaneers released a statement reading: "We are aware of the situation and are gathering information. We will withhold comment until we know all the facts."
The NFL will also review the matter.
Said league spokesman Greg Aiello: "It will be reviewed under our league policies."