Steelers cornerback Justin Layne has avoided the jail time and a felony charge by pleading guilty to three misdemeanors stemming from his arrest in the early hours of Friday, April 23, 2021. According to Josh Alper of Pro Football Talk, Lane pleaded guilty to a lesser charges and the case has been resolved:
Layne was facing a fourth-degree felony gun charge after his arrest following a traffic stop, but the Willoughby News-Herald reports that he pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor possession of criminal tools charge on Wednesday. He also pleaded guilty to charges of speeding and driving without an operator’s license.
Layne received a six-month suspended jail sentence. He will not serve time as long as he pays a $500 fine, forfeits a Glock 9mm handgun, and performs 32 hours of community service.
Layne is entering his third season with the Steelers after being drafted out of Michigan State. The Cleveland native has been primarily a special teams player, and someone the Steelers would be looking to fill the cornerback role left vacant when they released Steven Nelson and lost Mike Hilton via Free Agency. Layne played 117 defensive snaps in 2020 for the Steelers after playing zero in his rookie season. Appearing in all 16 games in 2020, Layne logged 261 special team snaps which was fourth most on the team behind Jordan Dangerfield, Ola Adeniyi , and Alex Highsmith.
During the incident, Layne informed authorities that he believed he had taken care of the previous issue which caused him to have a suspended drivers license and did not believe he was driving illegally. While in the police cruiser, Lane was videotaped making several remarks, one of which acknowledged the most severe violation of traveling with the handgun which ultimately led to the fourth-degree felony gun charge.
The Steelers have yet to comment on the issue with Layne, and he remains a member of the teams 90-man offseason roster.
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