Colts safety Joe Lefeged was arrested this morning in Washington D.C., the Indianapolis Star reported earlier this morning. Lefeged was in a vehicle with another person early Saturday morning when police tried to stop them. After a chase, both Lefeged and the man with him, Aaron Timothy Wilson, were arrested. They were arraigned Saturday afternoon during a brief court hearing and are currently being held without bond until their preliminary hearing on Tuesday and are facing multiple gun-related charges, including carrying a firearm without a license, an unregistered firearm, unregistered ammunition, possession of a firearm in a motor vehicle and possession of an open container of alcohol. It is currently unknown why the vehicle was pulled over by police or who was driving it.
Regardless of what this means for Lefeged's career with the Colts, it is just another instance of a player being dumb off the field. Also, the NFL is likely to pay much closer attention to this and potentially come down harsher than it normally would because of the recent Aaron Hernandez situation. The league is discouraging players from having guns in the first place, even ones legally registered.
Lefeged was signed by the Colts as an undrafted free agent out of Rutgers in 2011 and has played in every game (32 total) since joining the team. He has started five career games at safety, including four this past season. In his two-year career he has 65 tackles, 2 interceptions, 4 pass deflections, and 1 fumble recovery. His biggest contribution has come through special teams, however. In 2011 he returned 31 kickoffs for 578 yards (18.6 average, 51 long) and in 2012 he led the team with 16 special teams tackles and was even named a special teams captain for the Colts when they voted mid-season.
In Matt Miller's tremendous series for Bleacher Report called "NFL 1000," where he scouted and ranked the best players by position, Joe Lefeged was ranked as the 39th best safety last year. By comparison, LaRon Landry was 40th, Antoine Bethea was 48th, and Tom Zbikowski was 49th. So yeah, in essence, Matt Miller ranked Lefeged as the best Colts safety last year.
Now, that said, Bethea and Landry are both more talented than Lefeged, but my point is that he is not just another guy for this team. He is a very valuable third safety who can step in and start when needed and is simply the best special teams guy the Colts have. They need Joe Lefeged to continue to step up in 2013, and this arrest isn't exactly how they wanted his season to start.
The Colts released a statement on the issue Saturday afternoon:
"We are aware of the reports regarding Joe Lefeged in Washington, D.C. At this time, we will have no further comment on the pending matter until we gain more information."