Bruce Smith's summer of frustration got a little unhappier this week.
The Buffalo Bills defensive end was arrested in his hometown of Virginia Beach, Va., early Sunday morning and charged with driving under the influence and refusal to take a Breathalyzer test.
Smith was approached by police at 6:21 a.m. Sunday while sleeping in his car at a traffic light with the engine running, according to a Virginia Beach City Police Department report. Smith's 1996 four-door Mercedes Benz was in a traffic lane, the police report said.
He was arrested after refusing to take the Breathalyzer test. He was released later Sunday morning on $750 bond. Refusal to take the Breathalyzer test results in an automatic loss of license for seven days in Virginia. If convicted of both charges, Smith could face a fine and the suspension of his driver's license for up to a year or restrictions on his license. Smith, 34, is scheduled to appear in Virginia Beach traffic court on Sept. 2.
Smith, of course, remains home in Virginia Beach because he is holding out of training camp in a contract dispute with the Bills.
Bills general manager John Butler said he did not learn of the arrest until Monday afternoon.
"Until we really know the whole story and everything behind it, I can't make any kind of comment," Butler said. "We want to check out all the facts."
If convicted, Smith faces a fine from the NFL.
"Players who are involved in alcohol-related violations of the law are subject to a fine from the league," said NFL spokesperson Leslie Hammond.
Hammond would not comment on the size of fines for such offenses. It is common for those fines to amount to a half of a game check for the player. Such a fine would total about $68,000 if levied against Smith, given his current salary of $2.2 million.
Smith, the NFL Defensive Player of the Year last season, has been trying to get his contract renegotiated since the end of last season. The Bills have offered a deal of about $23 million over five years with a $5 million signing bonus. However, Smith wants a larger signing bonus, something defensive players such as Derrick Thomas and Chad Brown received during the offseason.
Smith is subject to a fine of $5,000 for each day he is absent from camp, and that total reached $90,000 on Monday.
In 1988, Smith was suspended for the first four games of the regular season for violating the NFL's substance abuse policy.
The NFL would not comment on whether it would give that sanction any consideration if Smith were to be convicted of the current charges.
"We can't really address the specifics on an individual player," Hammond said.
However, Butler said he did not think Smith's suspension nine years ago would have any bearing on his current case as far as the league was concerned.