Adopted cousin claims identity of Rams’ Steeples during arrest

ST. LOUIS — For months, Robert Steeples has been hard at work trying to earn his way onto the roster of his hometown St. Louis Rams.

So imagine his surprise and confusion when the team’s directer of security, Steve Miller, recently asked the rookie corner about a police blotter report that said Steeples had been arrested on drug-related charges.

Fred Contrada of reported Friday that Michael C. Roper, 25, of Holyoke, Mass., allegedly told Northampton police his name was Robert Steeples when police stopped the car he was riding in as a passenger on July 8. The article, which sources police documents, says police found a crack cocaine pipe and a pill bottle containing a prescription muscle relaxer in the vehicle. Roper, who claimed the drugs belonged to the driver, was booked under Steeples’ name.

The article explains what happened next:

Police later learned, however, that Steeples is an undrafted rookie trying out for the Rams.

In a letter to police, Stephen Miller, the director of security for the Rams, said head coach Jeff Fisher came into his office on July 26 with an envelope containing a police blotter story that Steeples had been arrested. Miller called Northampton police but was unable to obtain a mug shot. He did learn that the man arraigned had a tattoo on his right arm.

Miller then met with Steeples and determined that he had no such tattoo. Steeples suggested to the Rams the defendant in question was his adopted cousin, Roper.

A spokesman for the Rams on Friday confirmed the team is aware of the issue. He said Steeples’ relationship to Roper is his only relationship to the July 8 incident.

“He [Steeples] wasn’t there,” the spokesman said.

Steeples has turned heads during his times with the Rams this season. He originally attended the University of Missouri, where he played slot cornerback and earned an undergraduate degree. He then transferred to Memphis to use his final year of eligibility while attending graduate school. After being passed over in the 2013 NFL Draft, he earned a free-agent contract with the Rams —  an accomplishment he previously explained to Steeples had three solo tackles in the Rams’ first preseason game Thursday, a 27-19 loss to the Cleveland Browns.

Roper’s outlook is less optimistic.

According to the article, he has been arraigned on three counts of possession of cocaine, possession of a Class E substance, giving a false name to police and intimidating a witness. He has denied all charges. His bail has been set at $2,000 and his case has been continued to Sept. 5.

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