Thursday's NFL: Ex-Spartan Justin Layne reaches plea deal to resolve Ohio gun charge

Associated Press

Steelers cornerback and former Michigan State standout Justin Layne reached a plea deal to resolve charges stemming from a traffic stop in Ohio last month where authorities said they found a loaded gun in his car.

Layne, 23, was arrested on a fourth-degree felony charge of improper handling of a firearm in a motor vehicle following the April 23 stop in Willoughby Hills. That charge was dropped when he pleaded guilty Wednesday in Willoughby Municipal Court to a misdemeanor charge of possessing criminal tools and two traffic violations. Layne received a suspended 180-day jail sentence, must serve six months probation and perform 32 hours of community service.

Steelers cornerback Justin Layne

Police stopped Layne at about 1:20 a.m. when his Dodge Charger was going 89 mph in a 60-mph zone. A records check showed he was driving with a suspended license and he had an outstanding warrant for failure to appear on a traffic violation in another jurisdiction, police said.

They said they searched the car after smelling marijuana and seeing loose particles of it scattered throughout the vehicle. That search revealed a loaded Glock pistol in the center console, police said. They said Layne wasn’t a licensed conceal-carry permit holder in Ohio.

Layne played 16 games but made no starts last season for the Steelers, who selected him out of Michigan State in the third round of the 2019 draft. He had 10 tackles on defense and 12 more on special teams last season.

The Steelers declined comment on the matter Thursday, while a message left for Layne’s agent was not immediately returned.

HOF creates new program

The Pro Football Hall of Fame is forming a behavioral health program seeking solutions to mental and behavioral issues for current and former athletes and their families.

The program is supported by such hall members as Ronnie Lott, Brian Dawkins, Steve Atwater, Andre Reed and Tim Brown; current players Adrian Peterson and Calais Campbell; and David Baker, president of the Hall of Fame.

Hall of Fame Behavioral Health will offer a concierge call center and crisis line to match treatment and counseling services with an accredited network of providers nationwide. Providers are trained to handle issues such as post-career transition, identity, addiction, performance anxiety, mindfulness, and the culture of sports. Such services will complement existing programs and assistance available to players through the NFL and NFLPA.

Partners with Hall of Fame Behavioral Health will be Ashley Addiction Treatment of Baltimore; Aultman Health Foundation of Canton; Baylor Scott & White Health of Dallas; Emory Healthcare of Atlanta; Lindner Center of Hope of Cincinnati; Nashville Recovery Center in Tennessee; New Method Wellness of Southern California; Sabino Recovery of Tucson, Arizona; The Becoming Counseling & Wellness, a national company; The Menninger Clinic of Houston; UCSF Weill Institute for Neurosciences of San Francisco; and Vanderbilt Health of Nashville.

Extra points

The Colts signed five of their draft picks, including first-rounder Kwity Paye, a Michigan defensive end.

Paye was selected 21st overall after a solid career with the Wolverines in which he had 100 tackles (56 solo), 23½ tackles for loss, 11½ sacks, one pass defensed, one forced fumble and one fumble recovery. He was a three-time Academic All-Big Ten honoree.

… Safety Bobby McCain was released by the Miami Dolphins, who agreed to terms with veteran cornerback Jason McCourty.

McCourty, 33, has 137 career starts, including 11 last season for the New England Patriots. He will be reunited with Dolphins coach Brian Flores, a former Patriots assistant.