After spending three days in the Gretna jail for failing to pay nearly $400,000 in child support and alimony owed to his ex-wife, former Saints wide receiver Robert Meachem coughed up $100,000 on Thursday to secure his release.
Meachem's ex-wife's attorney, Mitchell Hoffman, said his office received the payment at midday.
Meachem, 32, had been ordered by a judge to pay about a quarter of what he owes in alimony and child support to Andrea Rhodes or spend 30 days in jail.
Judge Adrian Adams of Jefferson Parish's 24th Judicial District Court ordered Meachem's release about 1:30 p.m., and he was out of jail a short while later, records showed.
Attempts to contact Meachem's attorneys this week have been unsuccessful.
Former Saints player Robert Meachem began serving a 30-day jail sentence Monday, having fail…
Meachem's legal problems date back to 2014, when he and Rhodes separated after nearly six years of marriage. They finalized a divorce in 2015 in Jefferson Parish — where Meachem is listed as a resident — and agreed to share custody of their children.
A court official calculated in November that Meachem owed $588,000 to Rhodes in alimony and child support, of which he had paid only about $200,000. The official recommended that Adams declare Meachem to be in contempt of court.
Adams endorsed that suggestion on Jan. 6 and gave Meachem until Jan. 20 to pull himself out of contempt by paying the $388,019 he still owed. Meachem missed the deadline.
Three days later, Hoffman's office moved for Meachem to "be immediately imprisoned until support payments are made," as allowed by Louisiana law. Adams granted that motion Monday, turning down a request by Meachem for a new trial.
Adams also fined Meachem $500 for showing up at a deposition last year without bringing an assistant, Tomeka Tovell, who was supposed to testify about certain financial information.
Before being sent to jail, Meachem testified that he believed his inattentiveness to his bank balances had permitted a former officer of one of his charities to steal much of his money from him.
He also said Tovell, after being given power of attorney and access to his money, had been taking hundreds of thousands of dollars out of his accounts without his knowledge or instruction, though he stopped short of characterizing that as theft.
Hoffman countered that Meachem's alleged financial loss would have occurred before he told court officials that he could afford to pay $20,000 per month — dating back to the summer of 2014 — to support Rhodes and their children.
Meachem spent six of his seven NFL seasons with the Saints, for whom he scored nearly 30 touchdowns while helping the team win its lone Super Bowl title. The former first-round draft pick out of Tennessee last played in 2014, having earned more than $20 million during his NFL career, according to the sports finance website spotrac.com.
Meachem made much of that money in his lone year away from New Orleans, when he played with the San Diego Chargers on a deal that guaranteed him $14 million.
But Meachem testified in December that his money was largely gone and that he was borrowing from friends as well as living off credit cards to get by. He said he was thinking of getting a job selling shoes to support himself.
Hoffman said it wasn't clear Thursday how Meachem was able to gather the money for his release so quickly.
Hoffman said his office had secured a court order barring Meachem from accessing any money the NFL may have set aside for him for his retirement. Rhodes contends that she would own an interest in any such funds.
The Saints recently honored Meachem for delivering one of the most memorable plays in the team's history. During their Super Bowl season in 2009, he scored a 44-yard touchdown after ripping the ball away from Washington safety Kareem Moore, who moments earlier had picked off Saints quarterback Drew Brees.