The starting left defensive end for the Philadelphia Eagles was in court early this morning instead of resting up for practice on Lehigh University's campus after a police stop discovered marijuana in his possession.
Juqua Parker, whose birth name is Juqua Demail Thomas, was taken into custody during a traffic stop around 12:30 a.m. on N. Mountain Drive at Route 378, which is near the Eagles training camp on Lehigh's Mountaintop Campus.
Lower Saucon Township police said Parker was a passenger in a vehicle stopped for a traffic violation, and he had a small amount of marijuana in his possession.
According to the arrest affidavit, police stopped a Ford van that was headed south on Route 378 without its headlights on. The van was observed making a left turn onto North Mountain Drive, despite signs that prohibit left turns there.
Officers said after stopping the vehicle, they detected a strong odor of burned marijuana coming from the van. Officers said they opened up the passenger's side door "for safety" and found a baggie containing "green/brown vegetable matter" under Parker's seat. They also found a water bottle containing one "blunt," or apparent marijuana cigarette.
The affidavit said Parker admitted the items belonged to him. Parker was then taken into custody.
The van driver, Eagles starting left offensive guard Todd Herremans, 26, will be issued a citation for failing to obey a traffic control device and driving without his headlights on, police said.
Head Coach Andy Reid this morning declined comment and would "wait and see" how the case progresses. He said players had last night off and had a curfew of 1 a.m. this morning.
Team owner Jeffrey Lurie said it would be "improper" for him to comment.
A news release from police about the incident did not identify Parker as an NFL player with the Eagles. The news release followed the department's standard format, which includes the defendant's name, age and address and brief details about the incident.
Parker, 31, of Medford, N.J., was arraiged via video from Northampton County prison. Court records indicate he was held in the jail until 3:40 a.m. when he was able to post $1,000 bail.
Parker, who legally changed his last name in 2008 at the request of his late father, joined the team as a free agent in 2005 and became a starter in 2007 to replace Jevon Kearse.
He played college football at Oklahoma State University, and the Tennessee Titans drafted him in 2001.
According to the Eagles Web site, Parker is the starting left defensive end. He hails from Houston, Texas.
He played all 16 games last season, recording 76 tackles and five sacks. He also returned an interception for a touchdown against the San Francisco 49ers.
According to the Eagles Web site, Herremans is a five-year veteran with the team after being drafted out of Saginaw Valley State University in 2005. Herremans is from Ravenna, Mich.
-- Reporting by Tracy Jordan and Andre D. Williams, The Morning Call