The David Boston saga in Tampa Bay is over.
The Buccaneers released the wide receiver on Wednesday, two days after test results from an arrest in Pinellas Park revealed he had GHB in his system at the time of the arrest.
To replace Boston on the roster, the Buccaneers signed wide receiver Mark Jones.
Boston did not play on Sunday in Seattle due to a foot injury. The Buccaneers gave Boston an injury settlement upon his release.
The injury is why the Bucs released Boston, according to general manager Bruce Allen.
“His injury is a legitimate injury or else he would have played (on Sunday at Seattle),” Allen said. “We need a healthy receiver for this game and it’s in the Bucs’ best interests to move in this direction.”
Bucs head coach Jon Gruden told reporters on Monday that Boston would be probable for Sunday’s game against New Orleans, meaning there was a 75 percent chance Boston would play.
The timing of the release prompted questions about whether Boston misled team officials when he told them that he was innocent of the DUI charge that the Pinellas-Pasco prosecutor’s office is currently pursuing.
Allen said that throughout this process Boston has professed his innocence. Allen went so far as to publicly support Boston in an Aug. 25 release, saying the charges had no evidence behind them.
“At the time we made the statement, all of the evidence was pointing in his favor,” Allen said. “Obviously, something came out three weeks after that and it doesn’t look as favorable on David.”
Allen also drew a distinction between Boston’s off-field arrest and tight end Jerramy Stevens’ recent conviction for DUI in Scottsdale, Ariz., saying that the Buccaneers have strict policies the players must abide by, but that Stevens’ arrest occurred before he signed his contract in late April.
Boston’s positive test result was reported on Thursday, but the exact drug in his system was not released until Monday.
Allen wouldn’t speak to whether Boston would still be with the team if he weren’t injured, nor would he answer questions publicly about whether he felt betrayed by the test results.
“No, I believe David is being honest,” Allen said. “I believe David is thoroughly convinced he’s going to prove he did nothing wrong. It’s something only he can speak to and the courts will decide.”
Allen did say that he spoke to Boston twice on Tuesday.
“He knows how I feel,” Allen said.
Boston was arrested on Aug. 23 in Pinellas Park for DUI. He was found asleep in his car in the middle of the road. He passed a breathalyzer test, but took a urinalysis test after failing a field sobriety test.
Two days later Allen said in a release that the team had conducted its own investigation and found that Boston had done nothing wrong, giving the wide receiver their support.
After Boston’s test results were revealed on Monday, Allen said this in a release:
“We are taking the allegations in today’s report released by the Pinellas Park Police Department very seriously and we will continue to review all information as it becomes available,” Allen said. “We will reserve further comment until all the facts surrounding the investigation are complete."
Boston’s previous legal issues include a plea of no contest to two misdemeanor counts of testing positive for marijuana and cocaine after a traffic stop in 2002. He also earned a four-game suspension in 2004 from the NFL for violating the league’s steroid policy. Boston appealed, but the appeal was denied.
GHB is commonly referred to as the “date rape” drug because it can render a user unconscious. According to published reports, Boston had 870 micrograms per milliliter of GHB in his urine. Cynthia Lewis-Younger, medical director for the Florida Poison Information Center in Tampa, told the Tampa Tribune that the amount is four times what one would expect to see in the urine of someone who received a prescribed, legitimate dose.
The drug is believed by some of to have bodybuilding properties, but that has not been proven. GHB is an illegal substance under law, but the NFL does not test for the drug, so it does not fall under the league’s substance abuse policy. Nevertheless, NFL spokesperson Greg Aiello said a violation of substance abuse law is a violation of the league’s personal conduct policy. So Boston may be subject to NFL scrutiny.
Allen did say that the Bucs would not entertain the thought of re-signing Boston once he’s healthy.
“I think we’ve moved on,” Allen said.
Matthew Postins covers the Buccaneers for BucsBlitz.com and the Charlotte Sun-Herald in Port Charlotte, Fla. He is a member of the Pro Football Writers Association and has won national awards for his Buccaneers coverage from the PFWA, the National Newspaper Association and the Associated Press Sports Editors. He is also a contributor to the Scot Brantley Show from 4-7 p.m. weekdays on WHBO 1490-AM in Tampa-Clearwater.