PHILADELPHIA — Josh Huff says he carries a gun because he doesn’t trust people in his hometown of Houston and he has to protect his family.
The Philadelphia Eagles wide receiver is expected to play this week against the Giants despite his arrest on gun and drug charges. The team doesn’t plan any discipline yet.
Huff was charged Tuesday with possession of a 9 mm handgun without a permit and having a small amount of marijuana after he was pulled over for speeding on the New Jersey side of the Walt Whitman bridge. Huff was also cited for driving while intoxicated by the officer. His attorney, Fortunato Perri Jr., said Huff is licensed to carry in Texas and the gun was not loaded when he was stopped Tuesday morning.
“I have a wife and I have a son at home, and my job is to protect them at all costs,” Huff said. “I’m from Houston. You can’t trust a lot of people in Houston. There’s always somebody out to get you. I’ve felt my life has been threatened and that’s why I do have a gun and I do have a license. There’s been several instances in Houston where I’ve lost a friend to gun violence. Why would I let that happen to me?”
Eagles coach Doug Pederson was peppered with questions about the incident for the first 11 minutes of his news conference.
“It’s still an open investigation so I don’t know what’s going to happen in this case,” Pederson said Wednesday. “I’m disappointed for the choices they make. The spotlight is on everything we do. You have to be smart. You have to make right choices. Everything is magnified. But again, once they leave here, that’s the hardest thing to get through.”
Pederson said Huff was at the team’s practice facility watching film before the incident. He spoke to the 25-year-old third-year pro Wednesday morning before practice.
“He was very dejected, very disappointed and very apologetic, and he said it wouldn’t happen again,” Pederson said.
Huff said he addressed his teammates.
“My message was that I apologize for being a distraction to them, especially right now. We don’t need it,” he said.
Huff is the second Eagles player arrested in the past month. Linebacker Nigel Bradham faces a misdemeanor concealed weapons charge after he was caught carrying a loaded gun at a Miami airport on Oct. 2.
“I don’t necessarily understand why they need guns outside of sport hunting,” Pederson said. “There comes a time when there could be discipline. I want to make sure I’m doing right by these players and they’re doing right by themselves. They need to know that the decisions and choices they make away from this building is eventually going to affect their future as a player in the NFL.”
Huff is an outstanding player on special teams. He has two kickoff returns for touchdowns in his career, including a 98-yarder against Minnesota on Oct. 23. Huff has 13 catches for 72 yards and one touchdown.
Huff was found not guilty in 2013 of driving under the influence of marijuana after being pulled over for speeding near Oregon’s campus. He testified in that case that he appeared wobbly during a sobriety test because he always had trouble with balance. He said that he had been at a party where people were using marijuana, but did not smoke it himself.