Backup ND tight end arrested on marijuana charge

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SOUTH BEND, Ind. (AP) — New Notre Dame coach Brian Kelly believes the weekend arrest of a backup tight end on a drug charge is "a serious matter" and the player may be disciplined, a spokesman said Tuesday.

State police said Mike Ragone, who has two years of eligibility remaining, was arrested on a misdemeanor charge of marijuana possession Saturday morning about 45 miles east of South Bend because he was allegedly going 83 mph in a 70 mph zone on the Indiana Toll Road.

The trooper making the stop smelled marijuana, searched the car and found two baggies of a leafy substance in the purse of Ragone's girlfriend. A field test indicated it was marijuana.

According to probable cause affidavits filed by Trooper Tony LoMonaco, Ragone gave the baggies to his girlfriend to hide in her purse as they were being pulled over. LoMonaco said Ragone waived his right to remain silent and said the marijuana belonged to him.

Ragone has an unlisted telephone number and could not be reached for comment. It was not known if he has hired a lawyer. A spokeswoman for the LaGrange County prosecutor's office said formal charges were pending.

Ragone, 21, of Laurel Springs, N.J., and his 21-year-old girlfriend were each arrested on charges of marijuana possession, which carries a maximum sentence of a year in jail. Each was released on a $2,000 bond.

Brian Hardin, director of football media relations, said Kelly was aware of Ragone's arrest and "feels it is a serious matter."

"He has spoken with Mike but any team-related action that may be forthcoming would be handled internally," Hardin said.

Ragone had one catch in 11 games as a freshman. He missed the 2008 season after tearing the anterior cruciate ligament in his left knee. Last season he had six catches for 60 yards.

The Irish don't have much experience at tight end other than starter Kyle Rudolph, who had 33 catches for 364 yards last season. Others competing for playing time include Bobby Burger, who had two catches for 10 yards last season, Tyler Eifert, who was injured and didn't play after last year's season-opener, and Jake Golic, who did not play as a freshman. Incoming freshman Alex Welch is expected to enroll next month.