The charges for Ward's October arrest for possession of cannabis and drug paraphernalia have been dropped, Jenna Laine of ESPN.com reports.
Ward is currently a free agent after finishing his eighth pro season with 43 tackles (31 solo) and three pass breakups through 12 games for Tampa Bay. The 31-year-old struggled with knee and hip injuries along with a concussion, so any team willing to sign Ward must be on board with injury issues that likely won't disappear with age. Ward is just two seasons removed from averaging 6.2 tackles per game and forcing three fumbles in 2016.
Ward (knee) wants to continue his playing career in 2018, Benjamin Allbright of 104.7 FM Denver reports.
The Buccaneers let Ward walk after the 31-year-old played the 2017 season under a one-year contract, racking up 43 tackles and three pass breakups across 12 games in a part-time role. It's true his play has slipped since his Pro Bowl days with the Broncos from 2013 to 2015, but Ward could still have something left in the tank and it's not advised to completely write him off in IDP formats quite yet. However, complicating his ability to sign with a team this offseason is the fact that Ward was arrested in January on a felony count of marijuana possession and a misdemeanor count of possession of drug paraphernalia.
Ward (knee) was arrested Wednesday morning in Tampa on a felony count of marijuana possession and a misdemeanor count of possession of drug paraphernalia, Greg Auman of the Tampa Bay Times reports.
Ward posted bond and was released from jail shortly after his arrest, but he'll likely have to report to court at some point in the months to come and could face discipline from the NFL. A three-time Pro Bowler from 2013 through 2015, Ward has seen his effectiveness wane the past two seasons and was forced to settle for a part-time role with the Buccaneers in 2017. Ward, who sustained what is believed to be a minor knee injury in the Buccaneers' season finale Sunday against the Saints, will become a free agent this offseason.
Ward won't return to Sunday's game against the Saints with a knee injury, Greg Auman of the Tampa Bay Times reports.
Ward was originally tabbed questionable to return but ultimately was ruled out. Keith Tandy is likely to see increased snaps at safety with Ward sidelined.
Ward posted nine tackles (five solo) in Sunday's 22-19 loss to the Panthers.
The eight-year veteran drew the start at free safety in place of Justin Evans (IR-ankle) and put together what was easily his best tackle total of the season. Ward has expressed dissatisfaction with his playing time at different points during the campaign, but Evans' injury is at least affording the 31-year-old the opportunity to show what he can do with a full allotment of snaps. Ward will look to wrap up 2017 on a strong note against the Saints in Week 17.
|2017||Tampa Bay Buccaneers||12||43||31.0||12||0||0||0||0.0||0||0||3|
|Year||Team||G||Fum||Lost||Fum Forced||Own Rec||Opp Rec||Yds||Tot Rec||TD|
|2017||Tampa Bay Buccaneers||12||0||0||0||0||1||2||1||0|