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Julius Thomas, new Broncos star, latest local athlete busted for missing court date

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As one of the break-out stars in the Broncos victory over the Baltimore Ravens on Thursday, tight end Julius Thomas, who caught two of QB Peyton Manning's amazing seven touchdown passes, is getting more attention than ever. Hence his appearance on tonight's edition of CBS4's Xfinity Monday Live alongside host Vic Lombardi, where it's unlikely he'll be asked about a less laudatory achievement -- his arrest for failing to appear in court for a traffic violation. But this offense has become almost a rite of passage among Denver sports notables.

Examples? In August, as Broncos linebacker Von Miller was fighting a suspension for violating the NFL's drug policy (he ultimately received a six-game sidelining), he was arrested at a local gun range for failing to appear at a late December court date over several misdemeanor traffic violations a couple of months previous.

After this news broke, members of the local sports punditocracy ripped Miller for his immaturity in not taking care of what should have been a minor matter. But he's hardly alone among fellow athletes when it comes to such legal irresponsibility.

Note that after Nuggets guard Ty Lawson was busted for an alleged domestic dispute with his girlfriend (the incident also took place in August), we learned of his January cuffing for "flight to avoid prosecution" in relation to April 2012 traffic violations -- careless driving, driving with a license under restraint and permitting an unauthorized person to drive. He eventually pleaded guilty to the latter.

By the way, one legal definition of "flight to avoid prosecution" is "to avoid service of, or contempt proceedings for alleged disobedience of, lawful process requiring attendance and the giving of testimony or the production of documentary evidence before an agency of a State." In other words, missing a court date.

And Thomas? A day or so before the ex-basketballer got a chance to dunk a TD reception over a Mile High Stadium goal-post cross-bar....

...word got out about an August 28 arrest on a warrant out of Arapahoe County. Seems he'd received a ticket in January but hadn't gone through the required process to resolve it -- a matter that was flagged when Thomas was pulled over for speeding.

The Broncos subsequently released a typically bland statement about the matter. It reads: "We were notified of the issue involving Julius Thomas when it occurred on Aug. 28. It was addressed internally and is being resolved."

Maybe so, but the fact that three local athletes have gotten into trouble over the very same issue suggests that teams must do more to prevent such problems from occurring. Of course, the stars themselves should do likewise -- but apparently, that's a bit too much to ask.

Here's a larger look at Thomas's mug shot.

More from our Sports archive: "Video: Peyton Manning's seven touchdowns make up for a multitude of dumb-ass sins."

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