ATLANTA – Baltimore Ravens running back Jamal Lewis (search) was sentenced to four months in jail Wednesday for using a cell phone to try to set up a drug deal about 41/2 years ago.
The sentence issued in federal court was what Lewis expected under an agreement reached with prosecutors in October.
Lewis, who tried to set up the deal a few months after he was the No. 5 overall pick in the 2000 NFL (search) draft, also will spend two months in a halfway house and perform 500 hoby the NFL after his guilty plea; the Ravens finished the season 9-7 and missed the playoffs.
Lewis, a former star at Tennessee, could have faced at least 10 years in prison if convicted of the conspiracy charge, but likely would have received a shorter sentence under federal guidelines. In 1997, he pleaded guilty to a shoplifting charge in suburban Atlanta, but officials agreed to wipe his record clean if he complied with his probation.
In the drug case, Lewis was accused of helping broker a cocaine deal for childhood friend Angelo Jackson during conversations with a government informant in Atlanta.
On June 23, 2000 — Lewis had been drafted by the Ravens on April 15 — the FBI said an informant contacted Lewis on his cell phone to discuss selling cocaine to Lewis and Jackson. The FBI (search) said Lewis and Jackson later met the informant at an Atlanta restaurant. Both conversations were taped.
Jackson and the informant met several times more over the next several weeks, but Lewis was not part of any of those conversations, court papers say. No drugs ever exchanged hands.
Lewis signed a six-year, $35.3 million contract with the Ravens in July of that year. Three years later, he was chosen NFL offensive player of the year after rushing for 2,066 yards, the second highest total ever for a single season. Lewis wasn't indicted on the federal drug charges until February 2004; Prosecutors say they waited to protect an ongoing investigation.
Jackson has pleaded guilty to attempting to possess with the intent to distribute cocaine. He was expected to receive five years in prison at his sentencing later Wednesday.