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lehr named in steroid case


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lehr named in steroid case

lehr now a buccaneer; team has no comment on plano trainer inquiry

11:18 pm cst on wednesday, november 14, 2007

by jason trahan / the dallas morning news


a former dallas cowboys lineman who was suspended while he played for the atlanta falcons for violating the league's banned substance policy is among the names that a plano personal trainer has supplied to authorities who are investigating steroid ring, according to sources familiar with the inquiry.

matthew lehr, 28, who currently plays for the tampa bay buccaneers, could not be reached for comment, and his agent did not return phone calls. buccaneers spokesman jeff kamis said wednesday that the team had no comment on the investigation.

the trainer has not publicly named any of the players he says he has supplied with drugs. none of the claims of david jacobs, 35, have been publicly verified, and no evidence has been released related to the involvement of the athletes.

he has, however, agreed to cooperate with authorities in exchange for probation and has given investigators names of current and former cowboys players he claims to have supplied with steroids.

mr. jacobs pleaded guilty tuesday in federal court in sherman to conspiring to possess with intent to distribute anabolic steroids, admitting that he trafficked more than 40,000 units of the drug from february 2006 through april of this year, as well as several thousand units of human growth hormone.

mr. lehr, who still has a house in the denton county town of argyle, was a fifth-round pick by the cowboys in 2001. he started 22 games over parts of four years before his release late in the 2004 season.

at 6-2, 304 pounds, he has been considered an undersized offensive linemen. he played guard and center for the cowboys, starting every game in 2003 at center when the cowboys made the playoffs.

in 2005, he signed with atlanta and started all 26 games he played for the falcons. the nfl suspended him four games for violating the league's banned substance policy last year.

the league does not reveal the nature of the substances found in player drug tests, but at the time, his agent, bob lattinville, told the baltimore sun it was from an over-the-counter product. mr. lattinville did not return phone calls wednesday.

mr. lehr was cut by atlanta on march 5 but signed with tampa bay on april 3. he has played in nine games but has not started.

on his web site, thesupplementoutlet.com, mr. jacobs says he is a "certified personal trainer" who "offers guidance to many top athletes across the united states," including "dallas cowboys and atlanta falcons football players."

teams' response

officials with the cowboys and falcons deny having any connection to mr. jacobs.

cowboys' director of public relations rich dalrymple said wednesday that the team would have no comment about mr. lehr. mr. dalrymple also said the team does not know who mr. jacobs is and repeated that he has no affiliation with the organization.

individual cowboys football players who have been interviewed have said they do not know mr. jacobs.

the cowboys dealt with a drug issue earlier this year. quarterbacks coach wade wilson was fined $100,000 and issued a five-game suspension in september after he violated the nfl's substance abuse policy in his previous job with the chicago bears.

mr. wilson purchased a substance containing human growth hormone last year from a florida clinic that was involved in an investigation into pharmacies and doctors who signed prescriptions for patients they never examined.

mr. wilson has acknowledged that he was attempting to treat impotence brought on by complications from long-term diabetes. authorities say that he bought an amount consistent with personal use and that he is not suspected of giving or selling the drugs to anyone else.

the cowboys hired mr. wilson in february.

plano home is focus

authorities allege that mr. jacobs, a bodybuilder who also owns a nutritional supplement store in plano that is not thought to be related to the investigation, ran an illegal steroid operation out of his plano home. police searched it in april and found cash and steroids. a number of guns have also been seized in the case.

mr. jacobs' six co-defendants include his former girlfriend, amber joleblon jarrell, who is also a bodybuilder, and matthew blake williams of dallas. both pleaded guilty last week and are awaiting sentencing.

the remaining defendants are brandon mark smith, also a bodybuilder; juan carlos ballivian, a bolivian-born personal trainer and bodybuilder from houston; andrew william schenck; and jamie mongeau. their cases are pending.

it is unknown whether the others named in the indictment, all of whom declined to comment or could not be reached for comment, have any alleged connection to professional athletes. to prove a conspiracy, prosecutors need only show that they dealt with one another.

the investigation is part of operation raw deal, an international effort by the u.s. drug enforcement administration, the food and drug administration and other federal agencies that for two years has targeted importers of raw steroid materials from china, mexico and other countries.

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lawyer for ex-dallas cowboy lehr responds to allegation

05:40 am cst on friday, november 16, 2007

by jason trahan / the dallas morning news

an attorney for former dallas cowboys lineman matt lehr issued a statement thursday related to allegations that a plano-based personal trainer had named him in connection with a federal investigation into an illegal steroids ring. mr. lehr was suspended last year for violating the nfl's banned-substances policy while playing for the atlanta falcons.

"matt made a mistake and paid a heavy price for it with a four-game suspension," said dallas attorney paul coggins. "since then, he has been tested for banned substances on a weekly basis and has passed every test. he will continue to be tested for the rest of his nfl career and will pass every time. he learned from a past mistake and has grown from it."

mr. coggins would not confirm whether mr. lehr was under federal investigation. the trainer has not publicly named any of the players whom he says he has supplied with drugs. none of the claims of the trainer, david jacobs, have been publicly verified, and no evidence related to the involvement of the athletes has been released.

mr. lehr signed with the cowboys in 2001 and was released in 2004. he now plays for the tampa bay buccaneers.

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