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Ex-NFLer, Hermitage grad Darren Sharper gets reduced time on rape charges

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Posted at 1:55 PM, Mar 23, 2015
and last updated 2015-03-24 08:17:28-04

HENRICO, Va. – A former NFL star and Hermitage High school graduate, accused of raping nine women in four states, has reached a plea deal.

Darren Sharper, 39, was a safety for the Green Bay Packers, Minnesota Vikings and New Orleans Saints, from 1997-2010.

He has been in jail since February 2014, on charges he attacked women in Los Angeles, Las Vegas, New Orleans and Tempe, Arizona.

On Friday his attorney announced in court that Sharper had reached a plea agreement that could resolve most of the sexual assault charges against him. Sharper returned to court in Los Angeles on Monday to officially enter a plea for his Arizona charges. He will serve nine years as part of the deal, according to ESPN.  In Nevada, he could face more time , and will appear in court on Tuesday.

Florida prosecutors announced last year they would not prosecute Sharper on similar allegations, but he also faces federal charges in Louisiana.

If he had been found guilty during trial he would have faced up to life in prison for the crime, with no parole. Sharper will get about 300 days credit for time already served in California, Cobb said.

The charges against Sharper began in Los Angeles, with two counts of rape by use of drugs, four counts of furnishing a controlled substance and one count of possession of a controlled substance, all felonies.

The next aggravated rape charges were filed in New Orleans and Sharper turned himself into police. Charges were later filed against Sharper in Nevada and Arizona.

Before his NFL career, Sharper played football at both Hermitage High School in Henrico and the College of William and Mary. He intercepted 63 passes in his career, tying for seventh all-time. He is tied for second all-time in interceptions returned for touchdowns with 11, according to Pro-Football-Reference.com. The five-time Pro Bowler became an NFL Network analyst when he retired.

“That’s where Darren’s plaque was,” Chris Rollison, Director of Student Activities at Hermitage High School, said while pointing to the school’s ‘Hall of Fame’ wall.

Rollison removed all of the pictures and memorabilia on display in the cafeteria when he learned about Sharper’s plea.

“It was placed in this cabinet here,” Rollison said about that memorabilia.

Hermitage Tennis Coach Joe Coulter coached Sharper on the basketball team.

“Never in my life did I think I would be standing here talking about Darren in this situation,” Coulter said.

He said Sharper was not only an exceptional athlete, but also a great student, and a good guy.

“He was definitely bound for great things,” Coulter said.

Coulter said it is hard to imagine Sharper drugging women and then raping them knowing how successful and popular he was in school.

“I know he was a ladies man around campus,” Coulter said.