Bears' Webb arrested but won't face drug charges
Bears QB Jay Cutler talks with J'Marcus Webb after Cutler's 4th quarter TD pass to Brandon Marshall during the Bears' 34-18 win over the Cowboys. (Scott Strazzante / Chicago Tribune / October 1, 2012)
The starting left tackle for the last two seasons has been up and down on the field and served as a lightning rod for criticism of the offensive line. Now, he must resolve issues involving possession of cannabis, possession of drug paraphernalia and speeding.
Webb, 24, was arrested Sunday night after police pulled him over for speeding on I-57. His 2007 Ford was clocked at 11 miles above the 65 mph speed limit about six hours south of Chicago, according to Paula Pilgram, executive secretary for the Pulaski County sheriff's office. After being pulled over, police found less that 2.5 grams of marijuana, Pilgram said, reading from a police report.
However, Pulaski County State's Attorney Grayson Gile told the Southern Illinoisan that since the arrest, he has dismissed the charges.
Gile said the matter would be settled: "I think it lends itself to a resolution that will be fair and equitable to all parties involved."
While the case had been set for a March 18 hearing, and Webb had posted $500 bond and had been released Monday, Gile said the hearing would not be necessary, according to the Illinoisan. He declined further comment.
Webb offered a quick explanation and apology Wednesday on his Twitter account, @jmarcuswebb.
"Headed to Texas to train," Webb tweeted. "I apologize."
The Bears organization said it was "currently gathering information."
NFL spokesman Greg Aiello said of Webb's arrest: "We will look into it."
Webb isn't necessarily free and clear from an NFL drug policy standpoint but considering the circumstances a suspension would be a surprise. However, he could be made to enter the NFL's confidential drug program.
Asked specifically about Webb's performance on the field, coach Marc Trestman declined to answer from the NFL scouting combine in Indianapolis last Thursday. Webb has started at left tackle the last two seasons.
Webb was drafted in the seventh round in 2010 from West Texas A&M, where he transferred after playing as a freshman at Texas. Scouts for multiple NFL teams said Webb left Texas because of off-field issues.
The Bears could seek a replacement for Webb in free agency or the draft.
Free agency offers a handful of options but one was taken off the market Wednesday when the Giants re-signed Will Beatty to a $38.5 million, five-year contract with $19 million fully guaranteed. The Bears could consider other players, such as Jermon Bushrod, but he could re-sign with the Saints and general manager Phil Emery has a snug salary-cap situation.
Webb, who lives in Lake Forest, is entering the final year of his rookie contract and is due to earn $1.3 million in 2013.