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Tuesday, Sep 25, 2018
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  • Rick Stroud and Greg Auman

Bucs safety T.J. Ward arrested on felony drug charge

Bucs safety T.J. Ward is not starting his offseason off well.

Ward, 31 and two months away from being an unrestricted free agent, was arrested at his Tampa apartment at 8:11 a.m. Wednesday on an outstanding warrant relating to a previous (and unreported) arrest. Ward was booked and released on $2,500 bond at 11:46 a.m.

He's facing a felony count of possession of marijuana, as well as a misdemeanor count of possession of drug paraphernalia. Ward came to the Bucs four months ago from Colorado, where he was a Pro Bowl safety for the Broncos.

The original arrest took place on Oct. 25 — at 4:45 p.m. on a Wednesday during the week leading up to the Bucs' first game against Carolina. Tampa Police officers responding to an "active intrusion alarm" at Ward's apartment were allowed in by Ciera Woody, 38, who was alone there.

There were two glass jars containing 99.9 grams of marjiuana "in plain view," according to the report, and Woody denied ownership and said they belonged to Ward. When he was later interviewed post-Miranda, he admitted knowledge of the marijuana inside jars "he occasionally smoked out of," and admitted owning a "brass grinder containing marijuana residue."

Woody, who said the marijuana was "medicinal" and later told police it was hers according to the report, also faces the same felony possession charge as Ward. The amount of 99.9 grams equates to 3.5 ounces; in Florida, possession of more than 20 grams of marijuana counts as a felony.

That arrest went unreported and likely would have remained so, but Ward failed to appear in court on those charges and a warrant was issued, leading to Wednesday's arrest.

After signing a one-year, $4-million contract in August, Ward had a limited role with the Bucs — he had no interceptions and no forced fumbles, totaling 30 tackles and starting only five games.

As an unrestricted free agent, it's very possible he had played his final game with the Bucs even before his arrest. The team was aware of Wednesday's arrest when contacted but had not yet released any statement.

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