One of the top free agent acquisitions for the Chicago Bears was arrested in Pasco County, Florida, over the weekend.
Wide receiver Byron Pringle was pulled over by police at approximately 6:15 p.m. Eastern time on April 23 and charged with reckless driving, in addition to driving with a suspended license, according to the Florida Highway Patrol arrest report.
Pringle was driving a Dodge Challenger SRT Hellcat, which is registered to him, according to the arrest report, and he was doing donuts in the car on a public roadway with a child, which TMZ reported was his son, in the back seat. There was also an adult male in the front passenger seat, according to the arrest report.
The cloud of smoke produced by the car burning rubber “reduced the visibility to nearly zero” for drivers on the opposite-bound road. When the Florida Highway Patrol asked for his driver’s license, they saw it had been suspended in February and again in March for “financial responsibility” and “failure to pay a traffic fine.”
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Pringle Was Also ‘Verbally Confrontational’
According to the arrest report, Pringle “ignored” the “verbal commands” of the trooper who initially pulled him over “and then became verbally confrontational.” The receiver was arrested on the two misdemeanor charges shortly after that with no further incident and transported to the Pasco County jail, the report indicates.
Pringle, 28, is one of the first free agents signed by new general manager Ryan Poles. The two have a previous connection from their time together with the Kansas City Chiefs, where Pringle spent the previous three seasons. The veteran wide receiver lives in Wesley Chapel, Florida, where the incident occurred, according to the police report.
“That relationship was big because I’ve known him for a while,” Poles said about Pringle at the NFL owners meetings in March, per the team’s official website. “I know what [players] he was behind in Kansas City, and I know every time his number was called he was productive and he was dependable, and he’s tough.”
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Punishment Remains Unclear for Pringle
“They reached out to my agents and they give me the great opportunity to be able to come in here and compete and play with a young quarterback with young receivers, be able to give the guys, the receivers some like, basically that leadership role, in the receiver room,” Pringle said at his introductory press conference in March about signing with the Bears.
Whether Pringle will face punishment over the two misdemeanor charges — from the league, the team and the state of Florida — remains unknown. The Bears inked Pringle to a one-year contract with over $4 million guaranteed in March, so this isn’t the best way to start things off.
Over his three seasons in the league, Pringle, an undrafted free agent out of Kansas State, has played in 46 games, starting eight. He has 67 receptions for 898 yards and seven touchdowns in that time.
The last Bears player to get arrested was former cornerback Deiondre’ Hall, who was cited for public intoxication, disorderly conduct and interference in Cedar Falls, Iowa back in 2017.
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