Chiefs' Morris Claimed Innocent

Chiefs wide receiver Tamarick Vanover (87) runs to the goal line for a touchdown on his 84-yard punt return. chiefs / raiders AP


Former Kansas City Chiefs running back Bam Morris "is an innocent party" in a federal investigation into an alleged widespread drug ring, his agent said Wednesday.

"If I thought my client was involved in criminal activity, we wouldn't be talking to the press," Terry Lavenstein said from his Baltimore office.

"I'd like to get his name cleared as soon as possible."

Morris, who unexpectedly announced his retirement from the NFL last month, and teammate Tamarick Vanover were mentioned in an affidavit filed last week in connection with drug distribution charges lodged against a Kansas City man, Gregory Burns. Vanover's representative didn't return calls from The Associated Press.

The affidavit said the distribution ring stretched from Missouri to California and Mexico. Burns, described in the affidavit as a personal assistant to Vanover, was alleged to be a major supplier of marijuana and cocaine in the Kansas City area.

Neither Morris nor Vanover, who won a game against Denver for the Chiefs this season with an 80-yard punt return, has been charged.

Meanwhile, authorities at the University of Kansas said they would contact federal officials to discuss a report that one person had been denied bail because he had been supplying drugs to Jayhawks football players and fraternities.

FBI agents alleged that Chad M. Pollard "has supplied members of the Kansas University football team with drugs since 1996 as well as various Kansas University fraternities," according to documents quoted by The Kansas City Star.

Athletic director Bob Frederick said he met Wednesday morning with chancellor Robert Hemenway and that neither man knew anything about the allegation.

Frederick said he asked Ralph Oliver, the school's director of public safety, to contact the FBI for further information.

"The university is not an investigative body," Frederick said. "Ralph said he probably wouldn't be able to be very successful."

Amy Perko, the associate athletic director who oversees Kansas' mandatory drug-testing program, said athletes are subject to "a significant number of tests throughout the year."

"The results of those tests are all confidential," she said.

Morris, who spent 89 days in a Texas jail in 1998 for violating probation from a 1995 drug case, was mentioned once in the affidavit filed in connection with the arrest of Burns. Vanover was mentioned several times.

The Chiefs, already reeling from a one-car accident on Jan. 23 that left star linebacker Derrick Thomas paralyzed from the chest down, were taking a wait-andsee attitude.

"Nobody here knows anything about it," team spokesman Bob Moore said. "If something happens, it happens. But our people are not rushing back from (the Pro Bowl in) Hawaii because of this."

Pollard and Logan Gearheart, from Kansas City, Kan., were charged early last month with drug trafficking. Both pleaded innocent at hearings and Gearheart was released on bond.

Morris, who unexpectedly retired from the NFL less than two weeks ago, twice was suspended by the NFL for substance abuse while with the Pittsburgh Steelers.

"Bam, unfortunately, will continue to have to live with the mistake he made in 1995," Lavenstein said. "Any time an NFL player is involved in some type of criminal activity, no matter how slight, the Bam Morris incident is going to be brought up. That's something we have to live with, no matter how unfair that may be."

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