CLEVELAND -- Cleveland Browns running back Kevin Mack was arrested Wednesday in a well-known drug district and held overnight on suspicion of drug possession.
Cleveland television station WJW reported the apprehension on its 6 p.m. newscast. Cleveland police spokesman Robert Bolton confirmed that Mack was being kept overnight and would be arraigned at 9 a.m. Thursday in Cleveland Municipal Court.
Substances found on Mack's lap and in his jacket pocket were taken for tests. If they are found to be illegal substances, Mack would be charged with possession, authorities said.
Bolton said that shortly after 5 p.m. Cleveland police narcotics agents stumbled on Mack and two other people sitting in a parked car in the heart of Cleveland's most notorious drug district.
Police said they found on their laps were 11 $50-size bags of what appeared to be cocaine and a quantity of crack. The total street value was placed at $700.
Officers also found a pipe used for smoking crack and a vial used for cooking cocaine in the pocket of Mack's jacket.
Bolton said that Mack was not under surveillance and had no known drug history.
At the same time, a WJW photographer was driving on the street from another assignment and recognized a narcotics agent at the car. The photographer stopped and began shooting tape.
Only later did the police and the photographer realize the suspect was the Browns' two-time pro bowl fullback.
The tape showed Mack cowering on the floor of the car covering his face. A woman passenger was in the front seat and a male passenger was in the back seat. Police described those two as 'street people.'
The incident occurred three years and one day after Browns' safety Don Rogers died of a cocaine overdose on the eve of his wedding in Sacramento.
Several of Mack's teammates were said to be stunned by the arrest.
'He's the nicest guy on the team,' said one teammate who preferred not to be identified.
Mack, 26, has been with the Browns for four years and it is believed he never has tested positive for drugs.
A native of Kings Mountain, N. C., and a product of Clemson University, he was picked in the supplemental draft of 1984 after playing with the Los Angeles Express of the United States Football League.
He joined the Browns in 1985 and rushed for 1,104 yards his rookie year, breaking Jim Brown's rookie rushing record. That year Earnest Byner had 1,002 yards, only the third backfield to have two 1,000-yard rushers.
The two-time Pro Bowl selection, however, has been plagued by injuries, missing all or part of 10 games last year, finishing with 485 yards on 123 carries.
The the 6-foot, 235-pounder is especially needed this season, because Cleveland traded Byner to Washington on draft day.
Mack is married with no children and lives in suburban Westlake.