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Judge gives ex-NFL player Henry to 3 years in prison

BILLINGS, Mont. — A federal judge Wednesday sentenced former NFL player Travis Henry to three years in prison for financing a drug ring that moved cocaine between Colorado and Montana.

Henry, 30, of Frostproof, Fla., was arrested by federal drug agents last October — just a few months after the running back’s release from the Denver Broncos.

He pleaded guilty in April to a single count of conspiracy to traffic cocaine. In handing down Wednesday’s sentence, U.S. District Judge Richard Cebull in Billings also gave Henry five years of probation and recommended he enter a 500-hour drug treatment program.

Completion of the treatment program could knock off up to a year from Henry’s sentence. His attorney, Harvey Steinberg, said that with additional time off for good behavior Henry could be out of prison within 16 months.

Henry has said that at the time of his arrest, he was struggling to keep up with child support payments after fathering at least nine children with nine women. But Cebull said it was Henry’s addiction to marijuana that destroyed the his career and ultimately landed him in federal court.

‘‘This is a unique case in that you’re a unique individual. You’re a heck of a football player,’’ Cebull said. ‘‘You are not unique in this sense: your drug habit.’’

Cebull and the defense described Henry as a minor player in the Denver cocaine ring and said he had been ensnared in the conspiracy by a friend.

Clad in a blue prison jumpsuit and wearing handcuffs, Henry apologized to the court and said his criminal actions did not reflect his true self.