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You go, Carl

Sports blotter: "This year's Otis Nixon award" edition
By MATT TAIBBI  |  May 21, 2008

THE OLD AND THE RESTLESS: Senior citizen Carl Eller has spent his retirement beating up cops and getting Tasered.

Hot Carl
Former Minnesota Vikings defensive end Carl Eller — a member of the NFL Hall of Fame, dear readers — is an early candidate for this year’s Otis Nixon Award, given to the long-retired athlete who most repeatedly shows up in the news following crazy, incoherent, and completely avoidable clashes with the criminal-justice system. His candidacy poses a strong challenge to such perpetual contenders as Dennis Rodman, Darryl Strawberry, Dwight Gooden, and Mike Tyson, and I think it’s time that we all recognized that the sports-crime world may have a new luminary.

When we last heard from the 66-year-old Eller, this past April, he was beating the piss out of a pair of traffic cops who had chased him to the garage of his home in pursuit of an apparent DUI. Eller was so crazed that cops were forced to Taser him — but it had “little effect.” Both cops could be heard frantically calling for help as the 6-6, 270-pound Eller whaled away (tossing one completely over the hood of his car, punching the other in the face), and it wasn’t until one of them got the old man in a chokehold that the situation normalized. (One can only guess what kind of ribbing the two young cops took for being subdued by a man old enough to collect Social Security.)

At the time, Eller was charged with fourth-degree assault and terrorist threats, in addition to a DUI and a fleeing charge. Out on bail, he promptly got himself in the soup again. On May 14, police spotted Eller driving a motorcycle in Minneapolis and ran his tags; it turned out he was not using the proper plates, given his history of alcohol-related driving offenses. Eller was arrested and sent home without his bike, which was impounded.

Not the crime of the century, true, but two arrests within six weeks is a solid effort for anyone not named Lawrence Phillips. Add 10 points to the 50 Eller already has . . . looks like someone’s climbing up the leader board.

Bad credit
Now here’s one I haven’t heard before. Jamar Hornsby, a safety for Urban Meyer’s Florida Gators, was kicked off the team after cops caught him using a dead woman’s credit card.

Normally when someone uses a dead person’s credit card, it’s because the dead person was the victim of foul play. But in this case, the deceased, a student named Ashley Slonina, died in a motorcycle accident back in October 2007, a crash that also took the life of walk-on football player Michael Guilford.

Police say Hornsby has since charged more than $3000 to Slonina’s card. Nobody is saying how he got it, and Hornsby’s attorney, Huntley Johnson, is even saying that his client had a “legitimate reason” to use the card.

“He’s upset, he doesn’t think he did anything wrong,” said Johnson. “I don’t think he did anything wrong.”

Now that is an interesting statement. The world eagerly awaits the “legitimate reason” for using a dead girl’s credit card to buy gas. In the meantime, Hornsby is toast — “not part of our program,” according to Meyer — as this marks the third incident in his short tenure with the Gators. He was arrested this past year for a fight, and was also suspended for five games for selling his free football tickets. Look for him to resurface playing alongside fellow big-time failure Ryan Perrilloux in a 1-AA program somewhere soon.

Breath of Lofa
Minor note for NFL fans: Lofa Tatupu, star linebacker for the Seattle Seahawks and son of former Patriots icon Mosi Tatupu, was busted for a DUI this past week in Kirkland, Washington, while driving a Hyundai. (A Hyundai!) Tatupu originally declined to blow into a breathalyzer on the road; brought back to the station, he failed in his first two attempts to provide a “steady flow of air” into the machine. Cops informed him that if he didn’t get enough air in on his third try he would be taken to the hospital to have his blood drawn. So he complied, blowing a 0.155 and a 0.158, both about twice the legal limit. Give him 25 points on his way to arraignment. Too bad, the guy can really play — the Pats still should have drafted him.

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  Topics: Sports , Carl Eller , Jamar Hornsby , College Football ,  More more >
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