George Rogers, the National Football League's leading rusher in 1981, reportedly has told federal investigators that he spent more than $10,000 last season to buy cocaine, the New Orleans Times-Picayune-States Item said yesterday.
In a copyrighted story, the newspaper quoted sources as saying Rogers told a federal grand jury that he paid for cocaine with personal checks on several occasions.
The sources were identified only as being familiar with the federal inquiry into cocaine use by New Orleans Saints players.
The NFL declined to comment on the article, but said it is cooperating with the authorities connected with the grand jury.
Meanwhile, columnist Jack Anderson said on ABC's "Good Morning, America" yesterday that undercover federal narcotics agents have infiltrated a drug ring operating inside the NFL and are focusing on the Saints.
The newspaper quoted its sources as saying Rogers was one of more than a dozen present and former members of the Saints who have told investigators they bought cocaine from either Mike Strachan, a former Saint running back who has been indicted by a federal grand jury on cocaine-distribution charges, or from Joselyn Bruno, who was convicted of conspiring to sell the drug.
Rogers was named winner of the 1980 Heisman Trophy while at South Carolina and in 1981 was the NFL's rookie of the year after rushing for 1,674 yards.
He could not be reached for comment yesterday by the newspaper. However, Ed Holler, a business adviser and friend who was contacted in Columbia, S.C., told the newspaper he discussed the matter with Rogers and that the player would have no comment.
In New York, Dick Maxwell, director of information for the NFL's National Conference, told the Associated Press:
"We are aware of the story. As for the specific information in the article, we have no comment. We have cooperated with the authorities connected with the grand jury, and we will continue to cooperate with them."