NEW ORLEANS (AP) — Former NFL star Darren Sharper has been sentenced to 18 years in prison in a case where he was accused of drugging and raping as many as 16 women in four states.

Judge Jane Triche Milazzo sentenced Sharper on Thursday. He had pleaded guilty or no-contest to charges arising from the allegations of drugging and raping women in federal court in New Orleans, and state courts in Louisiana, Arizona, California and Nevada.

Prosecutors suggested a 9-year prison term for Sharper under a multi-jurisdictional plea deal, but Milazzo rejected it as too lenient in June.

Sharper and a woman he admitted drugging and raping both made emotional statements before the sentence was handed down.

Sharper's voice thickened and broke as he said he apologized "a thousand times" to the women he abused and to his family and friends. He said "I lived my life right for 38 years and then I took this path." Sharper said he's still trying to figure out why he did.

The woman said Sharper was so arrogant and "twisted" that he kept drugging and raping women even after he knew the attack on her was being investigated. She said a mistake is something that happens once and is corrected, but it was a way of life for Sharper and his friends. Her voice broke often during her long statement.

Her last words to him were: "Go to hell."

Sharper played for the Vikings,Packers and Saints.