Crime History, Nov. 5, 1981: Mercury Morris sentenced to 20 years for drug trafficking

Former Miami Dolphin Eugene "Mercury" Morris was convicted in 1982 for cocaine trafficking. But he was later granted a new trial, and the charge was dropped. He instead pleaded no contest to conspiracy to traffic in cocaine.

Former Miami Dolphin Eugene “Mercury” Morris was convicted in 1982 for cocaine trafficking. But he was later granted a new trial, and the charge was dropped. He instead pleaded no contest to conspiracy to traffic in cocaine.

On this day, Nov. 5, in 1981, former Miami Dolphins running back Mercury Morris was sentenced to 20 years in prison for selling cocaine to an undercover drug agent.

Born Eugene Morris in Pittsburgh, he took the nickname “Mercury” in college at West Texas State for his mercurial quickness when running with the ball. The name stuck.

Morris was a running back and kick returner for the Miami teams of the 1970s, including the undefeated 1972 team, and played in three Super Bowls. He was named to three Pro Bowl teams, and an All-Pro team.

Morris’ football career left him with a spine that had to be fused together with pieces of a dead man’s bone, and he became addicted to cocaine to manage the chronic pain.

By 1982, Morris was destitute and desperate, and acted as a middleman in a cocaine deal that landed him in prison.

Morris served three years before his sentence was overturned, and a plea bargain resulted in his release. He became a motivational speaker, warning of the dangers of drugs.

Morris, 66, now helps former players fight the NFL for retirement benefits.

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