Cincinnati Bengals‘ player Andre Smith was arrested at Hartsfield International Airport with a handgun on Thursday.
Smith was booked on possession of a handgun, then released on bond on Friday. He was caught with a .380 caliber pistol as he prepared to board a flight to Miami, according to police reports.
Smith, an offensive tackle for the Bengals, was booked into Clayton County jail, reports USA Today.
John Allen of the TSA’s Atlanta branch stated that security officers discovered the loaded pistol in Smith’s carry-on bag. They alerted airport police, who came to the scene and arrested the football player. The handgun is the third firearm TSA has discovered at Hartsfield so far this year.
Smith, 25, reportedly had no idea the handgun was even inside his luggage. Bengals public relations director Jack Brennan stated:
“The team is aware of the incident. However, it would be inappropriate to comment until the matter is resolved through normal legal channels.”
The Washington Post notes that Andre Smith made his first court appearance on Friday after his arrest. He will have a preliminary hearing on February 4 for carrying a weapon in an unauthorized location. Allen stated of the incident:
“We continue to remind passengers of the importance of looking through carry-on bags to ensure there are no prohibited items inside.”
Greg Aiello, an NFL spokesman, stated that the league will “look into it.” Smith’s arrest is a violation of the league’s personal conduct policy. Former Browns defensive tackle, Shaun Rogers, was fined by the league in 2010 after a loaded handgun was found in his bag at a Cleveland airport.
Andre Smith’s agent, Ben Dogra, stated that they retained an attorney in the Atlanta area. They plan to deal with Smith’s arrest and charges through legal process.