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Ex-Patriot Irving Fryar found guilty in mortgage scam

Irving Fryar (right) and his mother, Allene McGhee, are facing prison time.
Irving Fryar (right) and his mother, Allene McGhee, are facing prison time.AP pool

Former Patriots receiver Irving Fryar was found guilty of a role in a mortgage scam Friday and faces up to 10 years in prison.

Fryar, 52, who was a star at the University of Nebraska and also played for the Dolphins, Eagles, and Redskins, applied for multiple mortgage loans in quick succession while using the same property as collateral, a jury found.

Fryar’s defense was that he was a victim of a ‘‘con artist’’ who told him to carry out the scheme.

That man, William Barksdale, pleaded guilty to a conspiracy charge last year and was the government’s key witness. He is serving a 20-month prison sentence.


Fryar’s mother, Allene McGhee, also was convicted. Neither Fryar nor his mother testified at the three-week trial.

They rejected plea deals that would have meant five years in prison for Fryar and three for McGhee. Their lawyers contended that they were victims of Barksdale, not criminals.

Instead, Fryar and his mother went to trial to face conspiracy and theft-by-deception charges and were found guilty on both counts. Sentencing is scheduled for Oct. 2.

Authorities said Fryar and McGhee provided false wage information on her loan applications and claimed she earned thousands of dollars a month as an event coordinator for Fryar’s church. Authorities said the pair made just a few payments on four of the loans and banks eventually wrote the loans off as losses.

Fryar was freed Friday on bail of $20,000, and his mother was released on her own recognizance.

Fryar was the first overall pick in the 1984 NFL draft by the Patriots.

He is now the pastor of a church he founded, and for a time he also worked as a high school football coach in Robbinsville, N.J.

49ers release Smith Aldon Smith received second chance after second chance with the San Francisco 49ers, who parted ways with their troubled linebacker Friday following his fifth run-in with the law.


Only a few days earlier, general manager Trent Baalke expressed his desire to keep Smith beyond this season, which would have been a contract year. Instead Friday, Baalke and coach Jim Tomsula met with Smith at team headquarters after he left jail to inform him he was no longer part of the team.

‘‘It’s a sad day,’’ Tomsula said during an emotional news conference. ‘‘This is a day that doesn’t have anything to do about football.’’

Smith was arrested Thursday night — a day off from training camp for players — his fifth legal run-in since the team drafted him in 2011. Tomsula spoke to a couple of players but planned a team meeting Friday afternoon.

‘‘Guys care about him, we care about that guy, deeply,’’ he said.

Smith had said when camp began he was healthy and in great shape, ‘‘ready to go.’’

Santa Clara police arrested Smith, and accused him of drunken driving, hit and run, and vandalism.

Police said Friday that at 8:46 p.m., Smith collided with a parked vehicle while parking his car, then caused further damage to the parked vehicle with his car door.

Authorities said Smith then left the scene without reporting the collision or leaving any identifying information. He later returned to the parking area where he was contacted by officers. Smith displayed ‘‘objective symptoms of being under the influence of an alcoholic beverage. Officers administered a field sobriety test to Smith’’ and was arrested.


‘‘Although he won’t be playing football for the San Francisco 49ers, he will be supported and helped, and he will not have to walk this path alone,’’ Tomsula said. ‘‘That comes from our ownership down. He will not have to walk this path alone. We’re not worried about football. It has nothing to do with football.’’

Smith denied he was driving under the influence during a brief interview with a local television station before Tomsula’s news conference.

‘‘Justice will be served, the truth will come out,’’ Smith told KTVU Fox 2 as he walked out of jail. ‘‘There’s no DUI. I’m sorry for the way this whole thing — I want everybody to understand the situation that happened could have been handled differently.’’

Tomsula declined to speak about specifics of Smith’s arrest, but offered, ‘‘We’re dealing with human beings, living breathing human beings.’’

‘‘There are things that need to be addressed with 100 percent of what he has,’’ the coach said.

San Francisco has had 12 arrests or charges filed involving seven players since January 2012, prompting owner Jed York to promise the team would ‘‘win with class.’’ The Niners released defensive tackle Ray McDonald late last season for his off-field problems.

‘‘If one person out there reads this and you’re struggling, get help,’’ an emotional Tomsula said emphatically. ‘‘Go get it. You’re worth it. There’s value in every human being. Get the help. You don’t have to walk alone. Find it, it’s there.’’


Smith, who when at his best is one of the game’s top pass-rushers, was entering a contract year after he missed the first nine games of 2014 serving an NFL suspension for violations of the league’s substance-abuse and personal-conduct policies.

In spring 2014, the 49ers exercised their 2015 option for Smith. In March, Smith restructured his contract into a more incentive-laden, team-friendly deal that gives the 49ers room if he were to get in legal trouble again.

The 25-year-old Smith missed time during the 2013 season to undergo treatment at an inpatient facility following his DUI arrest on Sept. 20, 2013. That November, he pleaded not guilty to three felony counts of illegal possession of an assault weapon, stemming from a June 2012 party at his home.

Smith was arrested on April 13, 2014, at Los Angeles International Airport. Police said he was randomly selected for a secondary screening and became uncooperative with the process, telling a TSA agent that he had a bomb. No charges were filed.

Smith emerged as one of the NFL’s top pass rushers in 2012. He had a franchise-record 19½ sacks that year, but failed to record a sack in his final six games including the team’s postseason Super Bowl run.

Smith finished with 8½ sacks and 34 tackles in 11 games in 2013, making eight starts. In his shortened 2014 season, he had two sacks.

Tomsula hopes Smith will play football again one day.

‘‘He has been turning his life around. He is in the process of turning his life around. People stumble,’’ Tomsula said. ‘‘In terms of him playing football again, I sure hope so. I think he can. I want him to.’’


Jets’ Allen out for year

New York Jets safety Antonio Allen is out for the season with a torn Achilles’ tendon, and cornerback Dee Milliner will be sidelined up to two months with a wrist injury that requires surgery.

The team announced the injuries Friday morning after both players were hurt during practice Thursday.

Allen, hurt in a team drill at the end of practice, was placed on the waived/injured list, but could be added to injured reserve if he clears waivers.

The Jets signed former Syracuse cornerback Keon Lyn to take Allen’s roster spot.

Milliner injured a tendon in his right wrist, the latest in a series of setbacks for the team’s first-round pick in 2013. He had just recently been cleared for team activities after injuring his Achilles’ tendon last October.

Bills’ Jackson hurt

Buffalo Bills running back Fred Jackson could miss two weeks after suffering a hamstring injury at practice Friday.

Jackson suffered the injury midway through the practice session and didn’t return. The 34-year-old is Buffalo’s No. 2 running back behind LeSean McCoy.

Coach Rex Ryan said Jackson’s injury is ‘‘not a terrible one,’’ but he will probably miss two weeks.

Jackson has been one of Buffalo’s top contributors on offense over the past eight seasons. The injury further depletes Buffalo’s depth at running back; backup Anthony Dixon is expected to miss up to a month with a calf injury.

With numbers low at running back, the Bills signed undrafted free agent Bronson Hill Thursday.

Rams extend Foles’s contractThe St. Louis Rams quickly decided Nick Foles is their quarterback of the future, signing him to a multiyear contract extension.

The deal begins next season and calls for $24 million in salary over two years according to reports. He had been scheduled to make $1.5 million this season.

‘‘Oh yeah, it’s a good deal,’’ coach Jeff Fisher said. ‘‘It’s a good deal. It’s a good deal for us, good deal for him. He wants to be here and we want him here right now. He’s done a lot of good things for us in a short period of time.’’

Foles was acquired in the offseason from the Philadelphia Eagles for injury-prone Sam Bradford.

The parties have been talking since the start of training camp and got the deal done without seeing Foles, who missed the last half of last season with a broken collarbone, in a game situation.

Tribe rebuffs Redskins

A Native American tribe from South Dakota will return a $25,000 donation from a charitable arm of the Washington Redskins, saying the team name is ‘‘derogatory and inappropriate.’’

The tribal council of the Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe voted Wednesday to return the check, which was issued last month by the Washington Redskins’ Original Americans Foundation to the tribe’s rodeo association.

‘‘A lot of those in our community are opposed to accepting money from the Redskins, which to us is a racist organization; the term is derogatory and inappropriate,’’ said Ryman LeBeau, the tribe’s vice chairman and a councilman. ‘‘Their fans make a mockery of Indian culture, and that’s just wrong.’’

The foundation was created in March 2014 by team owner Dan Snyder following intensifying calls by Native Americans and other groups for the team to do away with its name. The team has maintained that it is meant to honor Native Americans, though a federal judge in June ordered the team’s trademark registration be cancelled, saying there is ample evidence that the name may be perceived as disparaging. That ruling does not preclude the team from using the word Redskins.