Heisman Winner Cannon Gets Early Prison Release

United Press International

Former Heisman Trophy winner Billy Cannon Sr. has been released from a federal prison in Texas after serving three years for making counterfeit $100 bills.

Federal officials said Cannon returned to his hometown of Baton Rouge late Monday after serving three years of a five-year sentence at a minimum-security federal penitentiary in Texarkana, Tex. He was released early on good behavior.

Cannon, 48, still faces three months of supervision in a halfway house. He will be allowed to leave the Salvation Army facility during the day, but he must return each evening.

"(Cannon) is still a prisoner," U.S. Probation Officer Bob Sibille said. "He doesn't come under our authority until November, when he's on mandatory release."

Cannon, who won the Heisman in 1959 while at Louisiana State, pleaded guilty last year to manufacturing phony $100 bills in what federal revenue agents said was one of the largest counterfeiting schemes ever in the United States.

He was arrested after agents dug up buried ice chests packed with about $1 million of high-quality counterfeit money.

"What I did was wrong, terribly wrong, and I have done everything in my power to correct my mistake and I will continue to do so," Cannon said in 1983 before being sentenced.

Cannon played professional football for 11 years with the Houston Oilers and the Kansas City Chiefs before retiring at the end of the 1970 season.

He became an orthodontist after he left football.

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