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Colts will cut Johnson after arrest on drug possession charge

INDIANAPOLIS -- The Indianapolis Colts will waive starting defensive tackle Ed Johnson after he was arrested early Wednesday on a drug possession charge.

Colts president Bill Polian said Johnson was stopped for speeding between midnight and 1 a.m. on Interstate 465 just north of Indianapolis. Police also charged him with marijuana possession.

He later was released on bond from the Hamilton County Jail.

"Ed was well aware that his past history required him to be in complete compliance with club rules," Polian wrote in a statement released by the team. "He was repeatedly told this during the off-season. Along with his teammates, he was reminded as recently as yesterday of Coach Dungy's rules of behavior. Unfortunately, he chose to violate those rules. Given the circumstances surrounding Ed's original employment with the Colts, we feel in this case that we have no choice but to take this action."

Johnson was temporarily expelled from Penn State in 2005 for violating the school policy on sexual misconduct and confining another student against the student's will. He was reinstated in 2006, but later suspended for the Outback Bowl for violating team rules.

Once considered a first-day draft prospect, the big defensive tackle went undrafted in 2007 draft.

"We had a talk with him and I thought he was going in the right direction," Dungy said last summer when Johnson was trying to make the team. "He has to understand the environment he's coming into and what we expect from him."

The 6-foot-2, 296-pound Johnson was the biggest surprise in training camp last year. He took advantage of an injury-depleted defensive line to start all 16 games, finishing with 63 tackles, one sack and one forced fumble.

The Colts had even bigger expectations for Johnson this year, but Wednesday's arrest has the Colts reassessing those plans.

Johnson was not in the locker room Wednesday to answer questions.

The arrest couldn't have come at a worse time for the Colts. They allowed Chicago to run for 153 yards and average 4.7 yards per carry in a season-opening 29-13 loss and now face back-to-back games against two of the NFL's best running tandems: Minnesota's Adrian Peterson and Chester Taylor, and Jacksonville's Fred Taylor and Maurice Jones-Drew.

One option for Dungy is moving 274-pound defensive end Raheem Brock inside, where he was the starter last season. Second-year player Keyunta Dawson is the other starter. They also could use their most experienced tackle, Darrell Reid, in the lineup.

The only other tackles on the active roster are Eric Foster, an undrafted rookie, and Daniel Muir, who was claimed off waivers last week from Green Bay.

It's the third legal incident involving a Colts player since April. Police charged running back Kenton Keith with criminal trespassing after refusing to leave the parking lot of a nightclub. He has since been cut.

Perennial Pro Bowl receiver Marvin Harrison was interviewed by police about a shooting near his North Philadelphia car wash in the spring. He wasn't charged.

Copyright 2008 by The Associated Press

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