Stubblefield pleads guilty in steroids case

Former San Francisco 49er defensive lineman Dana Stubblefield pleaded guilty in U.S. district court in San Francisco today with lying to a federal agent about receiving performance-enhancing drugs from the Burlingame-based Bay Area Laboratory Co-Operative, or BALCO.

Stubblefield, a three-time Pro Bowler, testified before the BALCO grand jury in November 2003.

The charges were unsealed earlier Friday in federal court in San Francisco. They allege Stubblefield made false statements to an Internal Revenue Service Agent when he said he had not used steroids linked to the Bay Area Laboratory Co-Operative and denied receiving performance enhancing drugs from BALCO founder Victor Conte.

In a brief Friday morning court appearance, the 37-year-old Stubblefield pleaded not guilty and was released on bail. He returned to court later Friday to enter his plea to the false statements charge. The plea deal calls for him to spend zero to six months in prison.

Stubblefield and his attorney, Mike Armstong, declined to comment as they left court.

<p>Stubblefield is the latest target in a federal investigation that has spanned five years and ensnared several elite athletes and members of the Burlingame-based steroids distribution ring, including Conte, who served four months in prison.

Barry Bonds, the former San Francisco Giant and baseball's career home run king, has pleaded not guilty to perjury and obstruction of justice charges and is awaiting trial.

Stubblefield played on the defensive line for the San Francisco 49ers, Washington Redskins and Oakland Raiders from 1993-2003, and was the NFL defensive player of the year in 1997 while with the 49ers.

He was one of three players fined by the NFL for testing positive for the designer steroid THG, but he was not suspended because THG was not added to the NFL's banned substance list until after the tests were conducted.

The Associated Press and Bay City News contributed to this report

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