Published December 13, 2010
TAMPA, Fla. – Tampa Bay linebacker Geno Hayes was jailed Monday on disorderly conduct and trespassing charges after a dispute at a popular nightclub, the third arrest of a Buccaneers player in the past two months.
Coach Raheem Morris called the string of run-ins with the law frustrating, but also said Hayes will play Sunday when the surprising Bucs (8-5) try to bolster their playoff hopes against the Detroit Lions.
The third-year pro out of Florida State was booked into Hillsborough County Jail hours after the Bucs returned home from a 17-16 victory at Washington.
Tampa police said the 6-foot-1, 226-pound Hayes became aggressive while intervening in a dispute that led to two other men being asked to leave the entrance to the Blue Martini Lounge.
The linebacker himself was ejected after ignoring an order to go back into the club, instead remaining at the entry "making derogatory statements and menacingly staring" at police and security personnel, authorities said.
According to the police report, an officer used an electronic control device on Hayes when the linebacker returned to the lounge and became disruptive while a friend was looking for a credit card the athlete said he left behind.
Hayes was arrested shortly after 2 a.m. and released on $750 bond about three hours later. He was available for comment at the team's practice facility on Monday.
"You talk to your team about making good decisions all the time," Morris said. "Obviously, you're frustrated with anything that diverts attention away from your team. ... It's diverting away from us being positive and 8-5, and just talking about that stuff."
Tight end Jerramy Stevens was let go by the team on Oct. 25, two days after being charged with possession of marijuana following a traffic stop for loud music.
Rookie receiver Mike Williams was arrested on a DUI charge on Nov. 19. He played two days later against San Francisco, catching a touchdown pass during a 21-0 victory over the 49ers.
"There is obviously frustration throughout the building ... just because were not talking about football. We're not talking about the plays that Geno made yesterday. We're talking about the incident that he had last night going home," Morris said.
Asked if he needed to do more to stress the importance of players being good citizens, the coach added: "It's not about the message and what's being heard from me. It's about us making better decisions. We've got to go out there and do it."
Morris said as a professional athlete, Hayes should have recognized he needed to walk away from the situation at the nightclub.
"It's about having the awareness of how to deal with normal people, so to speak. These guys have got to realize they're under the microscope at all times, and you've got to have the ability to walk away at all times," the coach said.
"Any confrontation, any argument, you've got to realize that you can't be right. That's the bottom line in the life that we've chosen."