When Buccaneers defensive end Da’Quan Bowers was arrested for carrying a gun in his luggage at New York City’s LaGuardia Airport in February, his attorney said that Bowers would be “fully exonerated” of the charges.
That prediction will start being put to the test on Thursday when Bowers goes to court to face two counts of criminal possession of a weapon in the second degree. That’s a felony charge in New York and carries a minimum sentence of 3.5 years and a maximum sentence of 15 years if Bowers is found guilty of the charges.
Dennis Coppin, Bowers’ attorney, said that the fact Bowers let authorities know that there was a gun in his bag illustrates that he had no intention of engaging in criminal activity. A spokesperson for the Queens District Attorney’s office agrees that Bowers informed authorities about the gun, but pointed out that his admission doesn’t change the fact that carrying the handgun, which is legally registered outside of New York, is by itself a criminal act in New York City.
Perhaps that’s why Coppin downgraded his prediction for the outcome of the case while talking to Roy Cummings of the Tampa Tribune this week. Coppin said that he’d “rather not say anything” about Bowers’ outlook until after the court date.
With Michael Bennett gone, the Buccaneers are in a position to lean heavily on Bowers up front. If Coppin’s initial read on the case was right, they’ve got nothing to worry about. If not, it could be another long year for the Tampa defense.