By Eric Schmidt

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers dodged their first bullet this offseason on Thursday. Buccaneers defensive end Da’Quan Bowers was charged with illegal gun possession in the State of New York earlier this offseason when it was discovered that he had a handgun in his luggage while trying to board a plane. Prosecutors dropped felony charges against Bowers on Thursday and handed him a disorderly conduct violation.

The move by prosecutors leaves Bowers without a criminal charge in a case where he could have been facing mandatory jail time. Initially, Bowers was facing a minimum sentence of 3 1/2 years with the possible maximum of 15 years. Bowers was charged with the same count that landed then-New York Giants wide receiver Plaxico Burress in jail.

The Buccaneers front office had to be concerned with the charges against Bowers as the team believes he will become the Buccaneers starting left defensive end for the 2013 season. Bowers recorded three sacks in 2012.

Tampa Bay allowed the 2012 sack leader, Michael Bennett to depart via free agency. Bennett recorded nine sacks last season and signed a one-year deal with the Seattle Seahawks last month.

 

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