Updated: 6:10 p.m.
HenryAfter being falsely accused of failing a drug test that could have ended his NFL career, Bengals wide receiver Chris Henry was cleared Wednesday by the state of Kentucky and his lawyer says he's owed an apology.
By late Wednesday afternoon, Henry's representatives weren't commenting when asked if he'll pursue civil action against Kenton County. And a spokesperson for the Kentucky Attorney General's Office said there hasn't been an inquiry into what happened Monday.
That's when the Kenton County Attorney's Office almost immediately backed off public statements that Henry had failed a drug test that would have violated his probation and sent him to jail for 88 days.
But on Wednesday the state of Kentucky released the following statement:
"This information did not come from the state Division of Probation & Parole. Repeated referrals to our office by the Kenton County Attorney's office were wrong. The Kenton County Attorney's Office has no jurisdiction in our probation supervision of Henry. Our office did, however, receive results of a drug test conducted on Henry today, and those results were negative."
Ken Easterling, the assistant Kenton County prosecutor, told The Cincinnati Enquirer earlier this week that Henry gave two urine samples at separate locations for probation stemming from arrests in Kenton County and Orange County, Fla.
Easterling has told the media that Kenton County was waiting on a second analysis to confirm the first.
Those familiar with drug tests say "a false positive" on an initial screening can come from an array of factors ranging from age of the test kit to over-the-counter drugs, and that it doesn't mean there is any amount of a prohibited substance.
"All I know is that I've seen two tests and they're both negative and they don't contain any controlled substances," said Robert Lotz, Henry's lawyer of Covington, Ky.
Repeated phone inquiries to Probation & Parole weren't returned.
Although Lotz said his client is owed an apology, he wouldn't say from whom. Lotz also wouldn't comment when asked if Henry would seek legal action for being falsely accused or if his privacy rights guaranteed in the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) were violated.
Marvin Frazier, one of Henry's agents, had no comment Wednesday when asked if Henry would seek legal action.
Bengals head coach Marvin Lewis said he's confident that Henry is upholding the NFL's requirements, but he does worry how he'll be affected by such things as Monday's circumstances.
"I think he's been wronged and it's unfortunate but he put himself in this situation and he's got to deal with it," Lewis said. "There are 1,000 to 1,500 Chris Henry (false) sightings a day. We have to help him deal with this as a person and help him through it psychologically.
"Chris has a great deal of requirements he has to get through with the NFL. He understands this is a very severe suspension and that he can't cross over the line. And I think he's doing well realizing all this."
Lewis said his players have to realize that they are profiled in the community, and he doesn't mean racially.
"They have to realize at all times that they stand out because they're NFL players," Lewis said. "If one guy is with four other guys and they're all playing the fool, the NFL player is the guy that's going to get singled out. They have to realize they have to matriculate through the community a certain way."
Henry is on probation in Kenton County for supplying alcohol to minors in April of 2006 and on probation in Orange County, Fla., for a felony gun charge in January of 2006.
"The state Division of Probation & Parole, through our District 7 office in Newport, provides probation supervision of Chris Henry for the Florida Division of Probation and Parole," Kentucky said in its statement. "This supervision is provided through what is called the interstate compact agreement and is in connection with Henry's Florida conviction in 2006 for carrying a concealed firearm. Henry received a sentence of two years supervised probation and that probation, under the interstate agreement, was transferred to Boone County, Kentucky. "
Bengals spokesman Jack Brennan issued the following statement:
"The Bengals are pleased that Kentucky's Division of Probation and Parole has confirmed in a press advisory today that Chris Henry did not violate any court-ordered testing he has undergone. The Club is not aware of any circumstance in which Chris has not complied with his obligations to legal and NFL-related procedures that will be required if he is to return to active playing status during the 2007 season. The Club regrets that incomplete and/or false information distributed to the media earlier this week resulted in incorrect reports regarding Chris' status."
A positive test would be devastating. It would not only land Henry in jail in two states, but it could cause NFL commissioner Roger Goodell to suspend him indefinitely. When Goodell suspended him for the first eight games this season last month, he indicated he would go beyond the sanctions of the NFL's substance abuse policy.
"I must emphasize to you that this is your last opportunity to salvage your NFL career," Goodell wrote Henry. "I urge you to take full advantage of the resources available to support you in that effort."