Former USC and NFL quarterback Todd Marinovich was behind bars Monday, serving a 90-day jail sentence for violating probation stemming from his arrest for carrying drugs while naked in the backyard of an Irvine home.
Marinovich, 48, admitted in court March 23 that he violated probation by testing positive for methamphetamine, and he received the 90-day jail sentence, according to court records. He was given credit for eight days in custody.
A message left with Marinovich’s attorney, Adam Cole, was not immediately returned.
Marinovich pleaded guilty in March of last year to one misdemeanor count each of public nudity, possession of methamphetamine, possession of drug paraphernalia, public attempted aggravated trespass of a residence and trespass with interference of property rights. He was placed on three years probation and given a 90-day jail sentence, but the jail time was suspended as long as he completed a six-month drug rehabilitation treatment program.
According to court records, however, Marinovich tested positive on March 9 for methamphetamine. He entered a detox center March 11 for a planned two- or three-week stay, but he left against the staff’s advice on March 16, according to court records.
Marinovich’s probation officer said the ex-quarterback was making no progress and “despite being out on bail and facing custody time, the probationer continues to use illegal substances,” according to court records.
While at the detox center, Marinovich asked for permission March 16 to go to his son’s football game, but was denied. Later that day, while out on an outing with the center, he walked away, according to court records.
Marinovich has been attempting a football comeback in the Coachella Valley.
His once-promising career has been derailed by substance abuse and legal problems, including multiple arrests for drug possession. He was trying to do his rehabilitation in the Coachella Valley and compete for the starting quarterback spot on the Indio-based SoCal Coyotes, a developmental football team.
Marinovich’s return to the field was announced last summer. He’d previously been an assistant coach with the team, but was offered a shot at quarterback after coaches said they noticed promise in his arm, despite his age and his troubled past.
“Todd’s been focused on sobriety and God since he’s been here,” Coyotes head coach J. David Miller said before training camp last July. “Nobody really wants to admit what we were seeing. But perhaps the only thing more outrageous than a 48-year-old quarterback is to deny a talented man the opportunity to play the sport he loves, break the tape, and to leave it on his terms. We anticipate the naysayers, but Todd’s passion, sincerity, humility and desire is extraordinary.”
He was named the starting quarterback in August and led the Coyotes to a commanding 73-0 victory in their September home opener against the California Sharks, throwing seven touchdowns. However, a shoulder injury kept him out of remaining games with the team.
Marinovich has acknowledged in the past that his drug use contributed to the failure of his NFL career. Following his release from the Raiders in 1993, he had stints in the 1990s with the Canadian Football League’s Winnipeg Blue Bombers and the British Columbia Lions. He joined the Los Angeles Avengers of the Arena Football League in March 2000 and left in 2001 after again being arrested, that time on suspicion of heroin possession.
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