CENTRAL ISLIP, N.Y. — Mark Ingram Sr., a star NFL player in the 1990s and the father of Heisman Trophy winner Mark Ingram Jr., was sentenced Monday to more than two additional years in federal prison for jumping bail in an attempt to see his son play in the 2009 Sugar Bowl.
Ingram Sr., 44, failed to surrender in December 2008 to begin serving a prison term of seven years and eight months after pleading guilty to money laundering and bank fraud. He’ll now have to spend nearly 10 years behind bars.
U.S. District Judge Thomas Platt on Long Island was nearly apologetic in imposing the additional 27 months but noted that Ingram has had a long criminal history since retiring from the NFL.
“I do this with a heavy heart,” Platt told Ingram, a star receiver for the New York Giants in the 1991 Super Bowl. “You’ve had a remarkable career and your son has a remarkable career. It’s too bad it had to end this way.”
The younger Ingram is a star running back at Alabama and won the 2009 Heisman Trophy in December. Ingram Sr. was free on bail when he disappeared after being denied a request to remain free until after his son competed in the Sugar Bowl.
His attorney, James Neville, noted that despite his failure to surrender, Ingram Sr. remained in contact with authorities via letters to the court. He was arrested Jan. 3, 2009, in a Michigan motel room hours before Alabama was beaten by Utah in the Sugar Bowl in New Orleans.
Ingram Sr. acknowledged Monday that his failure to surrender was the wrong move.
“I know with bad decisions there is consequences,” he told the judge before being sentenced. “I have to own up to what I did and be sentenced today.”
Neville said his client, faced with the prospect of a 92-month sentence, had wanted to see his son play one more time before beginning his sentence.
No one from Ingram’s family appeared at the sentencing. Neville said his client “did not want his son involved; his father doesn’t want him to suffer for his actions.”
When he received the Heisman Trophy in New York City in December, the younger Ingram told reporters: “My father has been a great influence on my life and I love him to death.”
Ingram’s sentence on a money laundering and bank fraud conviction followed a 2005 guilty plea. He admitted laundering money he believed to be proceeds from narcotics deals and to bank fraud for cashing counterfeit checks.
His sentencing was delayed repeatedly as he tried to revoke the plea, fired several court-appointed attorneys and made what prosecutors called “outlandish” legal arguments.
Ingram also played for the Miami Dolphins, Green Bay Packers and Philadelphia Eagles. Since his retirement, he has had frequent tangles with law enforcement.
In 2001, he was sentenced to six months in federal prison after he was caught with thousands in counterfeit cash. He then served a year in jail in 2004 after pleading guilty to stealing a credit card from a Flint golf course.
A felony charge of breaking and entering to steal a purse from a parked car in Michigan was dismissed in 2007 because of a lack of evidence.