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Former Fresno State Running Back Arrested After String of LA Robberies

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Former Fresno State and New York Giants running back Derrick Ward was arrested Monday, Dec. 18, 2023, in connection with a string of Los Angeles business robberies. (AP File)
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LOS ANGELES — Derrick Ward, a former Fresno State running back and member of the 2008 Super Bowl-winning New York Giants, has been arrested in Los Angeles on suspicion of robbery.

Ward, 43, was arrested Monday in the North Hollywood area, police said. He was being held Tuesday on $250,000 bail, according to a Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department inmate search website.

Police didn’t immediately provide details of the alleged crime, and it wasn’t immediately clear whether Ward had an attorney who could speak on his behalf.

A call by The Associated Press to the police department seeking information wasn’t immediately returned Tuesday evening.

Suspected of Robbing Five Businesses

Police told NBC News that Ward allegedly robbed five businesses, including gas stations, and that the 6-foot-tall, 230-pound ex-player didn’t use a gun during the alleged crimes.

Ward, who grew up in Southern California, was drafted by the New York Jets in 2004 in the seventh round but was cut without playing a regular season game.

He went on to play for the Giants from 2004 to 2008, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in 2009 and the Houston Texans from 2010 to 2011 before retiring from the NFL in 2012.

With the Giants, he was part of a fearsome trio of running backs along with Brandon Jacobs and Ahmad Bradshaw that was nicknamed “Earth, Wind and Fire.”

He was with the Giants when they beat Tom Brady’s undefeated New England Patriots 17-14 in Super Bowl XLII in 2008. However, Ward didn’t play in the game because of a broken leg.

1,000 Yard Rusher in 2008

Ward’s best NFL season was in 2008 when he rushed for 1,025 yards on 182 carries with two touchdowns.

In 2009, Ward was signed to a four-year, $17 million contract by the Buccaneers, but he was cut the next year and went to work for the Texans.

During his 93-game NFL career, Ward had 2,628 rushing yards on 551 attempts and 12 touchdowns.

Fresno State Career

As a freshman in 1999, Ward rushed for 824 yards, averaging 6.2 a carry, and scored six touchdowns. He played sparingly the following season,, battling a knee injury and academic issues.

Ward left the program, eventually finishing his college career at Ottawa University in Kansas.

In 2003, at Ottawa, Ward set NAIA single-season records with 2,061 rushing yards, 28 touchdowns, and 7.8 yards per carry.

(GV Wire contributed to this article.)

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