Former USC and Los Angeles Raiders quarterback Todd Marinovich, who was attempting a football comeback in the Coachella Valley following years of legal troubles, is back behind bars.
The Desert Sun reported that Marinovich, 48, was arrested March 19 in Orange County, released on bond, then re-arrested on March 23. He’s being held without bail and is slated to be released from the Orange County Jail on May 3, according to jail records do not detail why the probationer was taken into custody.
Marinovich, whose promising career was derailed by substance abuse and legal problems, including multiple arrests for drug possession, was seeking to rehab 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 QB after coaches say 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.
His comeback followed an August 2016 arrest in Irvine on drug and trespassing charges, in which he was found in possession of methamphetamine and marijuana. He pleaded guilty to misdemeanor charges last March and received three years of formal probation.
Team officials said he’d been clean and sober since then and had undergone weekly drug tests, as well as sharing his story at public speaking events at schools, churches and other venues throughout Southern California.
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.