By TOM WITHERS, AP Sports Writer
CLEVELAND (AP) - Two Browns players pleaded innocent to drug charges Wednesday and a third, top draft pick Gerard Warren, faces a firearm charge following their arrests in separate cases in two cities.
Fullback Mike Sellers and cornerback Lamar Chapman were charged with drug abuse of cocaine after police pulled them over in a traffic stop Monday night in Cleveland.
They pleaded innocent Wednesday to the felony charges and several misdemeanors, including use of a vehicle to solicit drugs, drug abuse of marijuana and not wearing seat belts.
Warren was arrested on a charge of carrying an unlicensed firearm following his arrest outside a nightclub in Pittsburgh.
The arrests came less than 48 hours after the Browns had beaten the Super Bowl champion Baltimore Ravens to improve to 5-4 and move back into the AFC playoff race.
A dollar bill containing a white powder was found in a patrol car after Sellers and Chapman were taken to the police station, a police report said. The powder tested positive as cocaine, police spokeswoman Sgt. Donna Bell said Wednesday.
Warren, a rookie defensive tackle who earlier this season was fined $35,000 by the NFL for a vicious hit on Jacksonville quarterback Mark Brunell, was arraigned Tuesday and released after posting bond. Warren is due in court Nov. 30.
Police were questioning a passenger for suspected drug use in Warren's sport utility vehicle parked outside the nightclub at 2:35 a.m. when they spotted an empty gun holster.
According to the police report, a passenger in Warren's SUV told officers he had a .45 Glock handgun locked inside a console in the vehicle. After towing and searching the vehicle, police found the gun, which belonged to Warren.
Warren said his brother, Corey, a Florida policeman, had bought the gun for him and he produced documents showing ownership. However, Warren said he had not yet obtained a license to carry it.
Browns tight end O.J. Santiago told police he was a passenger in Warren's SUV before entering the club. There were also three unidentified female passengers in the vehicle.
Browns president Carmen Policy said that the club was investigating the arrests. NFL spokesman Greg Aiello had no comment.
Sellers was accused of speeding and swerving in his pickup truck when police pulled him over Monday night. Officers found two bags of marijuana in the glove compartment and "three burnt marijuana blunt cigars" in the ashtray, according to a police report.
Sellers and Chapman posted bond and have court appearances Dec. 20 on the misdemeanors charges and Jan. 30 on the felony charges. Sellers refused to submit to a urine test at the jail, police said.
"It just doesn't add up," said Sellers' agent, Kenneth Austin. "There is a lot of speculation, especially with the cocaine. The handcuffs were so tight, Mike has bruises on his wrists. His hands were behind his back. How could he reach his front pocket and pull out a dollar bill?"
Sellers signed as a free agent with Cleveland in March after spending three seasons with Washington. He was expected to play a more prominent role in the Browns' offense but has caught just seven passes for 73 yards this season.
Chapman, a fifth-round draft pick last year, is out for the season after being placed on injured reserve.
If convicted, the players will be subject to the NFL's mandatory drug-and-alcohol program. First-time offenders are tested randomly.
(Copyright 2001 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)