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Wednesday, April 22, 2009
Lions' Bowman receives another year of probation

By ESPN.com staff
ESPN.com

Posted by ESPN.com's Adam Rittenberg

Penn State junior linebacker Navorro Bowman was sentenced to a year of probation Wednesday after admitting to using marijuana twice in the last four months. 

Bowman had already been on probation after pleading guilty last May to misdemeanor disorderly conduct for his role in an on-campus fight in October 2007. He admitted to smoking marijuana in recent months, which violated his probation. 

Judge Bradley P. Lunsford revoked Bowman's original probation, set to expire next month, and doubled the prosecution's recommendation of six months' probation. Lunsford ordered Bowman to meet with his probation officer at least once a month and undergo monthly drug and alcohol testing, as well as counseling.

The 20-year-old Bowman can't be around drugs or alcohol, including in bars, for the duration of his probation.  He also must complete the 100 hours of community service ordered in his first probation agreement.  

Lunsford told Bowman that any violation of the new probation will result in six months in jail. 

Penn State team spokesman Jeff Nelson told me that Bowman's status on the team has not changed. Head coach Joe Paterno hasn't commented on Bowman's status yet but could later today, and additional penalties from the team are likely for the All-Big Ten linebacker. 

Bowman has had a rough year, losing both his father and his high school coach. He brought this up in court today and though Lunsford sympathized with him, he didn't take lightly to the marijuana use.

For more on Bowman's probation hearing, click here or here

"Everyone around me has drugs in my life," said Bowman, "PSU's leading tackler in 2008 with 106. He registered 5.5 tackles for loss against USC. "I hate going home. When I go home, I want to be in State College."

Bowman estimated he's lost about 10 friends to drugs and violence since he's been at Penn State. But he vowed that he would learn from his most recent probation mistakes.

"I'm telling you, I will not be back in this courtroom again,'' Bowman said.

Bowman can't afford any other slip-ups, and it will be interesting to see what penalties he faces from the team.

Paterno came down hard on defensive linemen Chris Baker and Phil Taylor, dismissing them from the team. Defensive linemen Maurice Evans and Abe Koroma were suspended three games after being charged with marijuana possession in early September.  

I sat down with Bowman last week in State College, and though he didn't mention the legal issues, he reflected on what he's been through in the last year and what he faces ahead. 

"I'm still not really relieved from everything," Bowman told me. "It's still a struggle every day, just trying to do what I'm here to do and graduate. That's the most important thing. I'm eight-and-a-half credits from my degree, and once I get that, I can put a check mark next to the main reason I came to college.

"Everything else will pan out after that."