Former NFL receiver Cody Latimer receives probation in poker-related assault case

Cody Latimer
David Schneid
Posted on: July 27, 2021 13:37 PDT

Former Denver Broncos and New York Giants wide receiver Cody Latimer has been sentenced to two years' probation after pleading guilty to a misdemeanor assault charge arising from a 2020 poker-game dispute.

Latimer faced five charges following his arrest after a dispute at a May 16, 2020 poker game at an apartment in Denver's southern suburbs. Those charges included three felonies, including assault in the second degree, menacing, and illegal discharge of a firearm, plus two misdemeanors (prohibited use of a weapon and reckless endangerment). Additional charges were added later, and Latimer pled guilty in Monday's hearing to a single misdemeanor assault count. Latimer avoided possible jail time by accepting the plea deal.

The probation-only sentencing also clears Latimer for a chance to resume his NFL career or to play elsewhere. The NFL had placed him on its exempt list, rendering him ineligible to play, following his 2020 arrest. The Washington Football Club then released Latimer in August 2020.

Arguments, shots fired at friend's apartment

A run-of-the-mill poker-game involving Latimer escalated quickly into violence, with Latimer charged with firing shots from a handgun during a dispute a short time later. What began as friendly poker action turned into a heated disagreement. Latimer's attorney, Harvey Steinberg, alleged in a court filing that the argument involving Latimer began when another of the game's players turned out to be a man who, allegedly, had sexually assaulted Latimer's four-year-old son.

The ensuing argument forced the apartment's occupant and the game's organizer, Roderick English, to end the game. English tossed everyone out of the apartment as well, seeking to stop any threatened violence. A short while later, however, Latimer returned to the apartment and blamed English for the fight.

Latimer then brandished his handgun, saying it had two bullets within, one each for English and his girlfriend. More arguing ensued, and at some point Latimer fired two shots into the wall, but not at English or his girlfriend. Then Latimer claimed he'd never hurt either of the others, but switched moods once again. The two men grappled briefly. Latimer hit English on the head with the butt of the emptied pistol before finally calming down.

English finally succeeded in calming down Latimer from his rage. Latimer was not arrested until May 18, two days later, following a police investigation. English later filed a civil lawsuit against Latimer, and that case is still pending.

Journeyman receiver seeks to resume football career

The case received national attention only because of Latimer's athletic prominence. Latimer was a second-round pick in 2014 by Denver but never blossomed into the star receiver the Broncos envisioned. Instead, he became a dependable two-way special-teams player who could also catch passes in a pinch.

Latimer spent four years with the Broncos before moving on to the NY Giants for the 2018 and 2019 seasons. In New York, he put up his best receiving numbers but was still in a backup role. As a free agent, he signed with the Washington Football Club in April 2020. However, his arrest and placement on the NFL's exempt list just weeks later, followed by Washington releasing him, ended that career development.

Steinberg, Latimer's attorney, declared that Latimer is owed immediate reinstatement, given the case's no-time-served result and Latimer's forced vacation from the league. However, whether the 28-year-old journeyman can land a roster spot remains uncertain.

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