SANTA ANA, Calif. (AP) -Former Los Angeles Raiders quarterback Todd Marinovich has been given another chance at rehabilitation after pleading guilty to drug charges.
The 38-year-old former Southern California player pleaded guilty Tuesday to felony possession of a small amount of methamphetamine and misdemeanor syringe possession and resisting arrest.
Orange County Superior Court Commissioner James Odriozola decided Marinovich, who has had previous stints in drug rehab, should be given one more chance, said Deputy District Attorney Chris Kralick.
Marinovich was released to a rehab program in Laguna Beach.
Kralick argued, however, that Marinovich should be sent to prison, saying the former athlete has had too many chances. But Marinovich's attorneys successfully argued that relapse is a part of the recovery process.
Besides order rehab, Odriozola placed Marinovich on five years probation. If he violates probation, he faces three years and four months in prison, Kralick said.
The charges against Marinovich stem from his arrest in August near Newport Pier, where he was skateboarding in a prohibited area. Marinovich had a guitar case which contained speed in a powder form, as well as a spoon and syringe.
Marinovich has nine prior cases in the Orange County courts, most involving possession of a controlled substance, resisting arrest and possession of a hypodermic needle.
After playing two years at USC, he was a first-round draft pick and played for the Raiders from 1991-93 before being released.

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