Former Kansas City Chiefs running back Bam Morris pleaded guilty in federal court Monday to charges he sold marijuana and laundered money.
Morris, 28, pleaded guilty to two of four counts of a federal indictment. He admitted to attempting to distribute more than 100 kilos of marijuana in the Kansas City area between Jan. 1, 1998 and May 10, 2000.
Morris, who retired abruptly from the Chiefs after the 1999 season and shortly before the indictment was made public, also admitted that during a similar period he conspired with others to transfer and distribute money in pursuit of the sale of marijuana.
U.S. District Court Judge Gary Fenner ordered that Morris remain in custody pending a presentence investigation.
Morris faced up to 60 years in prison if given the maximum on the two charges.
Two other charges against Morris were dropped in the plea bargain that came just as jury selection was to begin for trial.
Morris had denied the charges that he was part of the ring that federal prosecutors allege was financed in part by former Kansas City Chiefs kick return specialist Tamarick Vanover.
His two co-defendants, DeWayne Calvin Bryant, 28, of Dallas, and Robert Corey Myers, 23, of Warrensburg, Mo., had each pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to distribute 100 grams or more of marijuana and one count of conspiracy to commit money laundering.
Bryant admitted to obtaining marijuana in Texas and conspiring with Morris and Myers to distribute it in the Kansas City area. Myers also admitted to being part of the conspiracy and distributing marijuana in the Warrensburg and Columbia area.
The two men and Vanover, who was released by the Chiefs after his guilty plea, had agreed to testify against Morris.
Five current or former Chiefs players and one team official were on a witness list to testify against Morris. The players were Vanover, Kimble Anders, Victor Riley, Eric Warfield and Joe Horn, who is now with the New Orleans Saints. Lamonte Winston, the Chiefs' director of player development, also was on the list.
The government alleged that Vanover financed the purchase of marijuana for sale by the others because of a substantial IRS debt. The overnment said Vanover gave the money to others after he received a $313,000 bonus from the Chiefs in 1999.
Vanover pleaded guilty to a charge that he sold a stolen car to a man in Florida.
Fenner said Morris could be sentenced to five to 40 years on the distribution charge and not more than 20 years on the money laundering charge.
Morris was on probation for a marijuana conviction in Texas when he was arrested in Kansas City. Texas authorities have issued an arrest warrant for violating terms of the probation.
The federal charges took precedence over the Texas warrant, said Chris Whitley, a spokesman for the U.S. Attorney's office.
Morris had been held without bond since the indictment was handed down in May.
Morris struggled during his two years with the Chiefs, battling a weight problem associated with medication to control his attention deficit disorder. He lost the starting job in training camp in 1999 to Kimble Anders, who missed most of the season with an Achilles' tendon injury. Morris finished the year with 414 yards and three touchdowns on 120 carries.
The Baltimore Ravens signed Morris in September 1996, but he was suspended for four games for violating the NFL's substance abuse policy.
He also was suspended for the first four games of the 1997 season after an offseason NFL test revealed he had used alcohol. When he missed several meetings with his probation officer, he was sentenced to four months in jail. Morris was released by Baltimore after his sentencing.
©2000 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed
© 2000 CBS Interactive Inc. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.