TUSCALOOSA, Ala. (AP) — Alabama defensive back Tony Mitchell said he feared his football career was over after his arrest on a drug charge.
The Crimson Tide freshman said in a video posted Sunday on social media that he knew “something much bigger could have happened.”
A judge in Holmes County, Florida, sentenced Mitchell to three years of probation with a fine and community service on May 24 after Mitchell pleaded guilty to a charge of possession of more than 20 grams of cannabis.
“I didn't know if I'd be able to play football again, but I continued to work out and stay close with the Lord and those who love me unconditionally,” Mitchell said. “During those times, it helped me to keep my mind off it. But when I was by myself looking at social media, what everybody had to say about it, it just felt like it happened again.
“I didn't sleep at night.”
He was suspended from the Alabama team following the arrest, but Mitchell’s father, Tony Sr., posted on Facebook last week that the defensive back had been reinstated. An Alabama spokesman declined to comment on Mitchell's status.
Tony Mitchell Sr. shared his son's video on Facebook, saying it was filmed during a talk to youth.
“I was doing things I knew I shouldn't to try to fit in,” the younger Mitchell said, “but not everybody's your friend.”
Mitchell, who is from Alabaster, Alabama, was a four-star prospect and the 15th-rated safety in the 247Composite rankings.
He had been charged in March with possession of a controlled substance with intent to sell after a traffic stop when authorities said he drove over 141 mph (227 kph) while trying to evade deputies in the Florida Panhandle. A deputy had spotted Mitchell’s black Dodge Challenger traveling 78 mph (125 kph) in a 55 mph (88 kph) zone on a rural highway north of Bonifay.
He also received 100 hours of community service and paid a fine of $1,560.
Mitchell and a passenger were both charged with possession of marijuana with the intent to sell or deliver, according to a Holmes County Sheriff’s Office arrest report. The other man also was charged with carrying a concealed gun without a permit.