Former Commanders trainer reaches deal to avoid drug charges originally appeared on NBC Sports Washington
Former Commanders athletic trainer Ryan Vermillion appeared in federal court Friday to enter into a deferred prosecution agreement and avoid charges in relation to a Drug Enforcement Agency investigation that resulted in a raid of both his home and team facilities last October.
According to a joint statement released by the NFL and NFL Players Association, Vermillion admitted to providing players with unprescribed painkillers “on a number of occasions.” The Commanders initially placed him on administrative leave when the investigation first came to light, but head coach Ron Rivera announced Friday that the organization has terminated Vermillion's employment.
Vermillion appeared in U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia in Alexandria, Va. on Friday morning.
“I was recently made aware that Ryan Vermillion has entered into an agreement, pursuant to which he has admitted to wrongdoing, but will not be charged with any crime so long as he satisfies certain conditions over the next 12 months,” Rivera said in a statement. “The situation is unfortunate and although it resulted in no criminal charges, it was necessary to move forward in a different direction. Ryan’s employment has been terminated.”
The NFL also suspended Vermillion indefinitely. He can apply for reinstatement in one year. But while his situation is resolved, the Commanders are still subject to investigation by the league and players union.
Washington, D.C., Maryland and Virginia local news, events and information
“Pursuant to the CBA, the NFL and NFL Players Association will initiate a joint investigation to determine whether the Commanders complied with the Prescription Drug Monitoring Program (PDMP),” the NFL and NFLPA said in a joint statement. “The Commanders have pledged their full support and cooperation.
“The NFL also will require the Commanders medical and training staff to attend additional training regarding obligations under federal and state law and the collective bargaining agreement.”
Rivera, under whom Vermillion has worked for parts of 10 seasons with the Commanders and Carolina Panthers, insisted the team wasn’t under any DEA suspicion.
“I want to emphasize that the U.S. Government confirmed from the outset that it viewed the organization as a witness, and not as a subject or target of the investigation,” Rivera said. “We cooperated fully with federal investigators, and we will continue to cooperate with any supplemental League and NFLPA inquiry. We continue to be committed to the health and safety of our players, and Al Bellamy, his staff, and our team doctors have been tremendous. We’re focused on the season ahead.”
The Commanders named Bellamy their new head athletic trainer in April.