The Colorado Buffaloes made negative headlines this weekend when senior quarterback Jordan Webb and former lineman Alex Lewis were arrested, and while it’s never good to have players in the police report, these arrests will have little bearing on the Buffaloes’ upcoming season. Neither player was a key member of the team, and their legal troubles will only hurt themselves, not their football programs.
Lewis’ arrest, for second-degree assault and two counts of harassment, comes just a few days after the former Buff announced his intention to transfer to Nebraska, where his father was a standout football player. Lewis started 12 games at left guard for Colorado last season, but he’s no longer the Buffaloes’ problem.
In CU head coach Mike MacIntyre‘s statement about the incidents, he said: “As of Friday, he was off of the team when he did a media interview and announced that he is transferring to Nebraska. Since he is no longer a Colorado Buffalo, it will be up to Nebraska to decide what discipline he might face.”
It might not be up to Nebraska. Secondary assault is considered a violent crime in the state of Colorado and is a felony that carries a mandatory prison sentence upon conviction.
Lewis’ legal issues aren’t relevant to the CU football team anymore, but Webb’s arrest isn’t a huge setback for the program either.
The senior quarterback transferred from Kansas, won last fall’s quarterback competition, and started the first nine games of 2012. After tearing his ACL last month, Webb was expected to miss the 2013 season and appeal to the NCAA for a sixth year of eligibility. Just last week, reports out of rehab suggested that his recovery process was so far along that he could potentially return as early as October.
It doesn’t sound like the Buffs will be planning to rush him back. In his statement, MacIntyre said Webb’s involvement in the incident is still being investigated and that the QB will be “disciplined according to team rules” if necessary.
According to additional details reported by Boulder’s Daily Camera, Lewis and the victim, Lee Bussey, a 22-year-old student at the U.S. Air Force Academy, bumped into each other on the street (literally), which escalated into an argument and shoving match. A witness who had been walking with Bussey said Lewis allegedly shoved Bussey into a brick wall, and then Lewis and Webb shoved him to the ground and punched him.
Bussey’s friends told officers he had been drinking earlier that evening, and when questioned by police, Lewis also admitted to drinking the night of the incident, but he denied that Webb was involved in the altercation. The police report said officers weren’t able to get Webb’s version of the events “because his behavior led to him being placed in a side holding cell.”
That alone could be a violation of team rules, but the Buffaloes weren’t counting on him this season anyway. Any disciplinary actions will hurt him more than they’ll affect the team, and if he is found guilty, Webb’s Colorado career will be over no matter how quickly his knee heals.