NFL notebook

Maroney is acquitted on charge

Ex-Patriot hopes to resume career

State doesn’t make case
Associated Press / September 1, 2011

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Former Patriots running back Laurence Maroney is hoping to catch on with another team after his acquittal of a misdemeanor marijuana charge in St. Louis, his attorney said yesterday.

Maroney, who grew up in St. Louis County, was among five people arrested in January for possessing marijuana. He was charged in March and opted for a jury trial.

But at a hearing Tuesday, after two police officers testified, defense attorney Scott Rosenblum asked Circuit Judge Elizabeth Byrne Hogan for a directed verdict, saying prosecutors failed to meet the burden of proof in the case. The judge agreed and found Maroney not guilty.

“It’s unusual because it hardly ever happens,’’ Rosenblum said of the directed verdict. “The judge is saying the case doesn’t need to go any further because, based on the evidence, the state hasn’t made a case.’’

The 26-year-old Maroney was the 21st overall pick by the Patriots in the 2006 draft. In four seasons in New England, he averaged 4.2 yards per carry with 21 touchdowns, and 10.2 yards per reception with one TD catch. His best season was 2009, when he set career highs with 194 carries and nine TDs.

He was traded to Denver for a fourth-round draft pick Sept. 14, 2010. He was injured when he arrived with the Broncos and played in just four games last season, rushing 36 times for 74 yards, a 2.1-yard average. He didn’t play in the final 10 games. His contract was not renewed.

Rosenblum said Maroney has two workouts lined up, though he would not name the teams.

Flutie details hits At a concussion-awareness event in his hometown of Natick yesterday, former Patriot and Boston College star quarterback Doug Flutie said he had at least three concussions as a pro when he had memory loss.

“There was one in particular I remember when I was with San Diego and we were playing Kansas City,’’ Flutie said. “I got hit hard, and I played the next game, but I wasn’t the same quarterback for the rest of the year. I had eight interceptions in the next three games. You think your reaction time is still good, but it’s not, it’s different.’’

Flutie also said that toward the end of his career, the NFL had testing in place to evaluate recovery from concussions, but he avoided it, knowing he likely would have failed those tests.

“I intentionally blew off the testing so I could get back on the field,’’ Flutie said. “I was really playing with fire.’’

Flutie also said he probably had numerous concussions playing youth football, and at BC, where he is remembered for his game-winning Hail Mary pass in a 1984 game against the University of Miami.

Flutie appeared at Dick’s Sporting Goods to promote PACE, a program funded by the chain that will make ImPACT software available to schools nationwide, a new technology that permits baseline brain-function readings of student athletes. If a concussion is suspected later, post-injury tests can be administered and compared to the original results, allowing doctors and coaches to know when it is safe to return an athlete to play.

Johnson a hot topic Titans running back Chris Johnson seems to be finding out about the downside of Twitter during his contract holdout.

Johnson tweeted yesterday to “fake Titan fans’’ calling him greedy and saying his demands are too high to “shut up.’’

Johnson went on to write, “I don’t have a regular job so don’t compare me to you and I can care less if uthink I’m greedy.’’

He earlier tweeted his thanks to people praying for him through his “situation.’’

Jets visit WTC site Rex Ryan and the Jets visited the World Trade Center site in New York and met construction workers there a little less than two weeks before the 10-year anniversary of the Sept. 11 attacks.

Several team members viewed the site after attending the Jets’ annual kickoff luncheon.

“Very humbling experience,’’ cornerback Antonio Cromartie wrote on his Twitter page. “Just walked out to see Ground Zero. A really heart felt experience. God Bless everyone.’’

Added linebacker Aaron Maybin: “Visiting the World Trade Center site with the rest of the D. Powerful experience.’’

Gore happy now Frank Gore signed his three-year contract extension with the Niners, keeping the two-time Pro Bowl running back with the team through 2014. He acknowledged it’s a relief to no longer have the future weighing on his mind.

“The team stepped up and showed they wanted me to be here for my whole career,’’ Gore said. Gore, 28, agreed Tuesday to the $21 million deal, with $13.5 million in guaranteed money.

Sentence started Bengals running back Cedric Benson has begun serving a 20-day jail term in Texas to settle two misdemeanor assault cases. The former University of Texas star was sentenced Monday in Austin and had planned to surrender Oct. 17, during Cincinnati’s bye week. Travis County Jail records show Benson was booked late Tuesday. Benson’s jail time could be shortened with possible credit for time served when arrested . . . The Vikings will be without backup linebacker Jasper Brinkley for a while. Coach Leslie Frazier confirmed in an e-mail message that Brinkley had surgery Tuesday on his hip . . . Bengals left tackle Andrew Whitworth got a two-year contract extension that could keep him in Cincinnati through 2015.

Globe correspondent Dan Adams contributed to this report.

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