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OU football players charged with drug possession

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NORMAN, Okla. - Criminal charges were filed Monday against two OU football players who were arrested early Sunday for possession of marijuana.

Cleveland County court records show sophomore defensive back Cortez Johnson and junior wide receiver Jalen Saunders were arrested after being pulled over near Lindsay St. and Oakhurst Ave. just before 1 a.m. Sunday for having a broken turn signal.

Johnson hasn't played this season after transferring to OU from Arizona last spring.

The car belonged to the passenger, Saunders, who has been a big part of the Sooners' offense over the last eight games.

An arrest affidavit stated a Cleveland County deputy smelled marijuana coming from their car.

The affidavit states, "Saunders stated that he had smoked marijuana earlier in the evening in Oklahoma City but that no marijuana had been in the vehicle."

However, the arresting deputy said he "observed a marijuana bud" in the car, as well as "three small burnt cigars that contained a burnt black substance" as well as a "small marijuana stem."

However, "...neither admitted ownership of the marijuana."

The arrest happened just hours after Saunders made seven catches, including a touchdown Saturday against TCU to help OU win a share of the Big 12 conference title.

If Saunders is suspended for the Cotton Bowl in January, experts said it will have a negative impact on the team.

"Well it hurts them because he's a dynamic player,"James Hale said, host of "Total Sports" on Sports Talk 1400 AM The Ref. "He's made so many great plays this year."

Hale said fan reaction has not been sympathetic.

"On the radio, it's been the same as on my website, OUinsider.com," Hale said. "It's been, 'Hey, how stupid, how selfish?' Why do these guys not realize that good things don't happen at 2:40 in the morning?"

Hale said head coach Bob Stoops usually lets the judicial system play out before deciding on any suspensions and he will not chalk it up to "boys will be boys."

"When you're a member of a football team, you're on scholarship, you have to realize you're playing by a little bit of a different game," he said. "You've got rules you have to follow."

Hale said he expects Saunders to miss either the Cotton Bowl in January or the first game of next season.

A university spokesperson told News Channel 4, "This is an athletic department matter and Coach Stoops addresses such matters internally."

The OU Athletic Department said coach Stoops may address the issue in a Cotton Bowl teleconference later this week.