NEW ORLEANS -- NFL rushing leader George Rogers has told federal investigators he bought more than $10,000 worth of cocaine during his record-breaking rookie year, a newspaper reported Thursday.
Rogers is one of more than a dozen Saints players who told investigators they bought drugs either from former Saints running back Mike Strachan or convicted cocaine dealer Joselyn Bruno, the Times-Picayune-The States-Item reported in a copyrighted story.
Strachan has been indicted on charges of dealing cocaine.
Rogers, the 1981 NFC Rookie of the Year, admitted to federal agents that he paid for cocaine on several occasions with personal checks, according to anonymous sources quoted by the newspaper.
The newspaper said investigators had reportedly reviewed checks for thousands of dollars that Rogers made out to Bruno and Strachan, identified by federal agents as partners in a cocaine operation.
Rogers was unavailable, and his business adviser said the 1980 Heisman Trophy winner would have no comment.
The Times-Picayune-The States-Item said its sources reported that, except for Strachan, criminal charges probably would not be filed against any current or former members of the Saints.
The sources told the newspaper the players described their drug dealings to investigators with the understanding they would not be prosecuted so long as they told the truth.
U.S. Attorney John Volz declined to comment on any aspects of the newspaper report.
The report of widespread drug use among Saints players follows a copyright story in Sports Illustrated by former New Orleans lineman Don Reese, who said many NFL players snorted cocaine before, during and after regular season games.
'I can't verify anything,' said Fred Williams, vice president of administration for the Saints. 'We're not trying to avoid issues but we are in the middle of a grand jury investigation with the U.S. Attorney's office.'
Volz has declined to describe the scope of his office's investigation but said, 'We're talking to everybody that we need to talk to. I don't think we ever gave out any specific number of people. There's really been no change. There's been no acceleration.'
In one incident described to investigators by San Diego Chargers running back Chuck Muncie, Rogers apparently bought cocaine in Honolulu the night before this year's NFL Pro Bowl, the paper said.
According to the newspaper's source, Muncie put Rogers in touch with a cocaine dealer who visited a hotel room where Rogers, Muncie and other NFL players were attending a party.
Muncie told investigators Rogers borrowed money from him to buy the cocaine. Several hours later, about 4 a.m., Rogers banged on Muncie's door asking for more money to buy drugs, the source said. Muncie reportedly told investigators he did not open the door.
The newspaper said investigators also have questioned David Wilson, a first-round draft choice and second string quarterback for the Saints; Monte Bennett, a second-year defensive lineman; former safety Ricky Ray; Rickey Jackson, a second-year linebacker; and Russell Gary, a second-year defensive back.
Rogers broke all rushing records at South Carolina and was Heisman Trophy winner in his senior year.
Although current Saints players reportedly have been granted immunity from indictment on drug charges, the newspaper source said they will be expected to testify for the government if any cases go to trial.
In the June 14 issue of Sports Illustrated, Reese said he and other Saints players used cocaine in the locker room before games and at halftime. Although the allegations upset league officials, most said they felt Reese exaggerated his accounts of drug use.
Several Saints players, including quarterback Archie Manning, said he never witnessed cocaine use in the locker room. Manning said drug use in pro football was no more widespread than in the rest of society.