Savage claimed through a note sent late Tuesday that he is on restrictive travel due to health issues and can’t leave Virginia. Judge Scott Donaldson said he found the claim to be “not adequate” in Savage’s failure to show for the second time in recent weeks.
Savage faced a felony charge for failing to register in Alabama as a sports agent. He is accused of sending an employee, Jason Goggins, to visit Prothro in a hospital in October 2005 after the player broke his leg.
Assistant Attorney General Don Valeska said Savage had agreed to plead to a misdemeanor with a $2,000 fine. Under the plea, Savage would have been restricted from traveling into Alabama, banned from dealing with any athletes from the state, and required not to contact Prothro or any witnesses, Valeska said.
“Now we may take that deal off the table and just try it in front of a jury as a felony,” Valeska said. “We’ll be arresting him hopefully tonight. We’re going to put him in the national computer and if he’s stopped for a traffic stop, he’s going to be arrested and transferred down here to county jail.”
Savage’s Alabama-based attorney, Jim Standridge, told Donaldson the court and prosecutors could verify with Savage’s family physician that he can’t travel. Donaldson said that’s not the responsibility of the court or prosecutors, adding he will withdraw the writ if detailed and sufficient evidence shows that Savage is ill.
“This is a ruse,” Valeska said. Fellow prosecutor Pamela Casey said Savage has repeatedly made excuses throughout the case, which began when Savage was indicted by a grand jury in 2006.
Said Standridge: “He’s sick. He’s got some kind of heart thing. That’s all I know. His doctor said he couldn’t travel.”
Chad Green, Savage’s attorney in Newport News, Va., said more evidence of Savage’s cardiac problems is being faxed today to the judge’s office.
“I am confident (the writ of arrest) will be stayed and Ray Savage will be down there to answer the judge when he’s better and able to travel,” Green said. “I’ll fight any type of extradition while he’s still under health restrictions. I think health and safety trump a lot of things, don’t you?”
Savage was an All-American linebacker/defensive end at Virginia in the late 1980s. His LinkedIn page describes him as president of Savage Sports and Entertainment and says he negotiated NFL player contracts from February 2003 until March 2009.
Green said Savage is no longer an agent and currently does consulting work while he seeks his MBA.
“He’s a pillar of the community up here in Newport News,” Green said. “He’s one of the true good guys. … There had been no plea agreement, as far as I know. There have been ongoing talks.”
Valeska said the attorney general’s office had agreed to a misdemeanor plea because the University of Alabama was not harmed by Savage’s contact with Prothro, whose eligibility was not affected. Prothro never played again due to the injury.
“At the appropriate time, one of these agents is going to go to jail because of a felony, but this one we didn’t feel was the case based on the facts,” Valeska said. “We want the message to go out that nobody comes to Alabama without following the law and talks to college athletes about going pro.”
Valeska said the state reviews every incident involving college athletes and agents for potential prosecution.
“We looked at (former Alabama football player) Andre Smith’s case, and we had no case,” Valeska said. “We do that so we can tell every judge that down the road, because the defense always says it’s selective prosecution, they didn’t go after so and so. Yes, we do. We go after all of them. We take their information to a grand jury and let the citizens decide.”