The Denver Broncos player sent home from the Super Bowl after being caught up in a prostitution sting was with a close friend who was "pimping" when officers swooped in Tuesday, sources tell NBC Bay Area.
Ryan Murphy, a member of the Broncos' practice squad, was questioned, but not arrested or cited during the incident outside a motel in north San Jose. Officials said the sting operation that took place Tuesday is one of many taking place in the South Bay during Super Bowl week.
Sources said the county task force on human trafficking is posting ads requesting prostitution. The ads are popular around the Super Bowl, officials said.
"We have seen an increase in ads both on women looking to seek men that want prostitution and men seeking women for prostitution acts," Santa Clara County Sheriff's spokesman Sgt. James Jensen said.
One woman who answered an ad was driven to the Motel 6 by a man Tuesday night. Sources tell NBC Bay Area she made contact with an undercover officer.
Murphy was also a passenger and when the woman came back to get some belongings, the task force swept in. Murphy was questioned and released.
His friend, once identified by Murphy as his brother but turns out it is not, was cited for "pimping." The woman was referred to a victim's program.
The Broncos on Tuesday night sent Murphy back to Denver and on Wednesday, the team said the episode is over.
"Obviously disappointed for the young man, but we're focused on what we have to do football-wise and we're going to work this morning in our meetings and getting into our routine," Broncos Head Coach Gary Kubiak said.
The county task force has now cited 20 men during recent operations.
County Supervisor Dave Cortese, who spearheaded the formation of the task force, had mixed feelings about the Murphy incident.
"One the one hand, I'm disappointed to see the trafficking," Cortese said. "On the other hand, I was proud that it was our sheriff's department doing such a good job to crack down on the problem."
The NFL has also set up its own regional task force.