BELLEFONTE — A judge sentenced Penn State’s Navorro Bowman to an extra 12 months of probation and to undergo drug testing and counseling after the linebacker admitted smoking marijuana.
Bowman, the Nittany Lions’ leading tackler last season, was already on probation after pleading guilty in May 2008 to disorderly conduct in connection with a campus fight the previous fall. He also had been ordered to complete 100 hours of community service.
A probation officer said in court Wednesday that Bowman, in a meeting earlier this month, admitted to using marijuana twice, a violation of his probation that was scheduled to end next month. Defense attorney Stacy Parks Miller said there was confusion in that statement, and that Bowman clarified to the judge that he used the drug once but had thought about using it a second time this spring.
Bowman’s probation was extended until April 2010.
Centre County Judge Bradley Lunsford also ordered Bowman to stay away from alcohol and any establishments that serve alcohol. In a stern lecture, Lunsford warned that any more violations could lead to six months in jail.
“I’m trying to stay above board, stay out of trouble,” said Bowman during the 30-minute hearing, adding later, “I will not be back here.”
“If you don’t correct that stuff now ... it’s not going to get any better,” Lunsford said.
Bowman, 20, of District Heights, Md., emerged as a sophomore in 2008 to record a team-high 106 tackles during Penn State’s run to the Rose Bowl. The athletic linebacker garnered first-team Big Ten honors, stepping up at after captain and fellow LB Sean Lee went down with a season-ending knee injury.
Bowman, who did not speak to reporters, also told the court he failed to register his community service with the probation department out of confusion over how to do so. He was given until April 2010 to finish the service and Lunsford asked Bowman to produce proof of prior service.
“The judge really sent a strong message,” Parks Miller said. “But in the end, I’m happy ... that it came around to compassion and reasonableness.”
Bowman has dealt with several personal issues in the past year, including the deaths of his father and high school football coach, who was a mentor. In court, Bowman spoke about how he had lost other friends in his hometown to violence, and told Lunsford he might have a problem dealing with “life issues.”
“I hate going home,” he said. “When I go home, I want to come back to State College.”
Lee said Bowman’s teammates support him.