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Webster Faces New Charges

NFL Hall of Fame member and former Pittsburgh Steelers center Mike Webster faces new charges of illegally obtaining Ritalin.

Webster was accused earlier this year of forging prescriptions to buy Ritalin once in Rochester and 18 times in Center Township, about 25 miles northwest of Pittsburgh.

Webster, 47, lives in the township.

During an arraignment Friday at District Justice Joseph Zupsic's office, Zupsic said the state Attorney General's office is also charging Webster with illegally obtaining Ritalin twice in McKees Rocks -- on Aug. 27 and Oct. 1 -- and once in Kennedy Township, on Jan. 23. Both communities are just outside Pittsburgh.

Webster said at a news conference this month that he was taking Ritalin because of a brain injury he suffered through years of playing football.

His doctors said the condition is a form of cognitive dysfunction and makes it hard for Webster to make appropriate judgments. The doctors say Ritalin, commonly used to calm children with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, helps Webster.

Police say Ritalin can be abused as a stimulant.

The prescriptions bore the name of Dr. Jerry Carter of Allegheny General Hospital in Pittsburgh, but Carter allegedly told police that he did not write them.

A preliminary hearing was set for May 28.

Webster was released on a $10,000 bond. He declined to comment, although his attorney, Lisa Michel of Pittsburgh, said he intends to enter a rehabilitation center.

Each count of obtaining drugs without a prescription carries a maximum 15-year sentence and $250,000 fine.

At his news conference earlier this month, Webster said, "I do promise you this -- no matter what happens, I will answer the charges, I will pay my debt to society, whatever it is claimed to be."

Webster retired from the Kansas City Chiefs in 1990 after winning four Super Bowl rings with the Steelers. Since then, his troubles have include the failure of his marriage, brief homelessness and illnesses. Webster has said he had minor heart attacks, depression and post-concussion syndrome.

Webster was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1997.

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