A state trooper who found marijuana and a gun in a car driven by Arkansas State running back Michael Dyer offered to call his coach even though he worried about "NCAA crap" and other fallout, according to video of a traffic stop released Monday.
Arkansas State Police released the 58-minute video and said it had completed an internal investigation into the March 10 stop. It released no details about the investigation, saying it involved personnel matters almost certainly tied to the actions of Trooper Royce Denney.
Dyer was ticketed for going 96 mph in a 70 mph zone, though audio and video from the stop indicate that either Dyer or an unidentified female were in possession of marijuana and a gun. Denney can be heard on the video talking at length with Dyer about how he should handle the incident.
"What if I talk to (coach) Gus Malzahn, or however you say his name?" Denney asks at one point. "I really don’t want to tell him about this because of the NCAA crap. I know there’s a lot of stuff that goes on behind closed doors between coaches and players. I’m still in a predicament, even if I talk to coach."
Denney also asks Dyer: "What about the weed?" and whether the running back thought it would be "all out of your system" in a month. He berates Dyer for having a gun, saying "You don’t need it. If you think it makes you look cool, you’re stupid."
"It pisses me off that someone of your stature and your ability does this kind of stupid (expletive)," Denney adds.
The trooper also asked Dyer if the running back wanted him to hold on to the gun, and Dyer says yes.
"I didn’t say keep it," Denney responds. "Maybe we can get together some other time, and you can have it back after me and coach talk. You understand? ... I’m going to let coach make the decision for me. Or, for you. If he wants me to keep it, I’ll keep it. If he wants me to get it delivered to him, I’ll get it delivered to him or whatever."
It was unclear whether the trooper contacted Malzahn or Arkansas State about the traffic stop. The Associated Press requested comment from Malzahn at midday Monday. State police spokesman Bill Sadler said Denney is not currently conducting patrols.
Malzahn coached Dyer at Auburn, and recruited the running back to Arkansas State after he was hired to coach the Red Wolves. He dismissed the running back from the team over the weekend, citing an unspecified violation of team rules.
Dyer, the offensive MVP as a freshman in Auburn’s victory over Oregon in the 2011 national championship game, transferred to Arkansas State in January after he was suspended indefinitely by Auburn coach Gene Chizik for violating unspecified team rules before the Chick-fil-A Bowl. He was the first Tigers tailback to rush for more than 1,000 yards in each of his first two seasons, including a 1,093-yard performance as a freshman that broke Bo Jackson’s school record of 892 yards set in 1982. Dyer rushed for 1,242 yards and 10 touchdowns last season.
Following his transfer to the Red Wolves, Dyer appealed to the NCAA to play this season rather than sit out as required. After he was denied, Dyer said at a July 20 news conference that he was happy at Arkansas State and looking forward to helping his new teammates.
Malzahn, who was Dyer’s offensive coordinator at Auburn, stood next to Dyer at the news conference and professed his excitement for Dyer’s future with the Red Wolves. That excitement turned to resignation Sunday evening when Arkansas State released a statement saying Dyer had been dismissed.
"I am truly disappointed that it didn’t work out here at ASU for Mike," Malzahn said in the statement. "I wish Mike nothing but the best in the future."