Pittsburgh Steelers CB Senquez Golson on gun at airport: ‘It was just an honest mistake’
Former Ole Miss star Senquez Golson might just have learned an expensive lesson.
Golson, now a cornerback with the NFL’s Pittsburgh Steelers, was briefly detained Wednesday at Mobile Regional Airport in Alabama after a handgun and ammunition were found in his carry-on bag. Golson was not arrested, but might face a hefty fine from the TSA for trying to take an unauthorized weapon onto a flight.
Golson told AL.com he is an investor in a Gulfport, Mississippi, nightclub called Club Thirty IV, and had the gun in his bag for personal protection when on site at the club over the weekend. He simply forgot it was there before heading to the airport, he said.
“It was just an honest mistake,” Golson said. “… We had an event at the club over the weekend, and things get kind of wild. I always keep my protection on me, which is completely legal. (The gun) is in my name and everything. I just forgot it was in my bag.
“My heart just kind of dropped when they found it. I was like ‘what in the world was I thinking?'”
AL.com has confirmed the details of the incident, which was first reported by TMZ. Golson — who is from nearby Pascagoula, Mississippi — was set to board a flight out of Mobile to Atlanta at around noon Wednesday, when security agents discovered an unloaded Glock .45-caliber pistol and a separate magazine of ammunition in his carry-on bag.
After TSA agents and airport police questioned Golson, they allowed him to board his flight, he said. Golson said authorities told him he’s likely to be fined $5,000-$10,000, but that the entire situation was “handled with class on both sides.”
“I think they knew it was an honest mistake, because I was kind of rushing,” Golson said. “They ran me through the scanner, and then did it again. I was like ‘I know I don’t have any liquids in there.’ That’s when they told me I had my pistol in there.
“I want to thank the Mobile Police Department and especially Mobile (airport) security, because they handled the situation with class. I figure if I was an a-hole, I’d probably be locked up right now. I apologized. There wasn’t no reason for me to get rowdy or nothing, because I was in the wrong.”
Brian Fillingim, chief of police with the Mobile Airport Authority, told AL.com that while carrying a gun is permitted in Alabama airports, attempting to do so onto a flight is a violation of federal law. Airport authorities will hold Golson’s gun and ammunition until he returns to retrieve it.
Fillingim added similar incidents occur “a couple of times a month,” and that Golson was “an outstanding individual” to deal with.
“What the officer told me is that (Golson) was very respectful, very up-front with everything, very apologetic,” Fillingim said. “He did not realize he had left (the gun) in his bag.”
The 23-year-old Golson is entering his third year with the Steelers, but is yet to play in an NFL regular-season game due to injury. He sat out his 2015 rookie season following shoulder surgery, then missed all of 2016 after injuring his foot during training camp.
“I actually talked to one of my coaches while I was going through the process,” Golson said. “But when I get back to Pittsburgh I’m sure I’ll have to explain it in more detail, what happened.”
Golson said he has the option to appeal the fine, but will wait until receiving official TSA paperwork before deciding if he will do so. He added that he has been cleared 100 percent by doctors to participate in team activities.
Golson was a first-team All-American as a senior at Ole Miss in 2014, when he led the SEC with 10 interceptions. His most famous moment came in the Rebels’ 23-17 victory over Alabama, when he leaped and intercepted a Blake Sims pass in the back of the end zone in the game’s final minute to secure the win.
The Steelers selected Golson in the second round of the 2015 NFL draft. He has two years remaining on his contract with Pittsburgh, and is set to earn roughly $1.09 million this season.