Former highly touted NFL wide receiver Henry Ruggs III has been booked into prison for 3-10 years for a conviction stemming from a DUI and vehicular manslaughter that took place in 2021. Ruggs, who was the talk of sports media during the time shortly after the accident, saw his promising football career vanish overnight after the incident occurred.
Ruggs was convicted after being found to have driven on residential roads going 156 miles per hour while being far over the legal limit for blood alcohol content. That reckless act resulted in the death of 23-year-old Tina Tintor. Ruggs was subsequently released from the Oakland Raiders and has not received a football contract, or interest from any team, since.
Speaking in court following the incident, Ruggs read a prepared statement, saying, “I sincerely apologize for my actions the morning of Nov. 2, 2021. My actions are not a true reflection of me.” 8 News Now noted that Ruggs spoke to the court about a desire to use his situation to bring about and increase in awareness for drunk driving.
After Ruggs’ guilty plea in May, District Attorney Steven B. Wolfson released a harsh statement regarding the charges levied against the former Alabama Crimson Tide standout. “I recognize this outcome is not sufficient to punish Ruggs for the loss the Tintor family has suffered, but there was a legitimate concern that a court would have suppressed the result of the blood draw. We would have lost the felony DUI charge. We couldn’t take that chance. This resolution sends Ruggs to prison for up to 10 years on a felony DUI conviction and brings closure to the Tintor family.”
A friend of the victim Tina Tinton also spoke during a hearing, reading a statement about the impact that has been felt due to the loss of a close friend. “There are very few words to explain the feelings of losing a child. It is a pain we feel every day when moments pass where we anticipate her presence just to be reminded that she will never be there. To have only the memory of what it was like to hug and embrace her, knowing we will never be able to kiss her on the forehead or tell her how much we love her and how absolutely proud of her we are.”
Henry Ruggs III now joins a list that includes Michael Vick and Aaron Hernandez as some of the few NFL players to have their careers shortened or ended by a criminal conviction leading to prison time. Whether Ruggs will be able to rejuvenate his career once on the outside is a question that can only be answered with time.
Clearly, the natural ability to play the game of football is something that Ruggs possesses, but can a team really ever bring him into a healthy locker room? It is likely that this question will be asked of front offices all around the league just a few years from now.
The featured image is a mugshot from the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department.
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