Defensive end says arrest a 'disruption'

Updated: October 6, 2004, 2:19 PM ET
Associated Press

CINCINNATI -- Defensive end Justin Smith apologized to Cincinnati Bengals teammates and fans Wednesday for his drunken driving arrest.

Justin Smith
Defensive End
Cincinnati Bengals
Tot Ast Solo FF Sack Int
20 16 4 0 1 0

With a Bengals cap on his head and coach Marvin Lewis at his side, Smith sat at a table and read from a folded sheet of paper on his lap. He declined to take questions.

"I just want to apologize today to my teammates, my coaches and our fans for the situation I put myself in and the Bengals' organization," Smith said. "I cast us in an unfavorable light and it's a disruption to our team, and the fans don't deserve it."

The Bengals have declined to talk about his arrest, preferring to wait until the case is decided in court.

Smith, 25, was stopped by a Montgomery County sheriff's deputy who saw his truck weaving in a Dayton suburb early Tuesday. He told the deputy he had five beers, and he swayed while walking during a sobriety test, according to the arrest report.

A breath test found he had a blood alcohol level of 0.152, the report said, nearly double the state's legal limit. He was taken to the county jail and later released on bond.

Smith faces a maximum six months in jail and $1,000 fine for the misdemeanor charge. He's scheduled for arraignment next Tuesday.

Typically, first-time offenders are put on probation and ordered to attend an alcohol education course.

Smith was the Bengals' first-round pick (fourth overall) in the 2001 draft. He set a team rookie record for sacks with 8 that year, but his total has declined the last two years.

Smith said he couldn't discuss the case.

"I do know, however, that it's important to me to focus now on the commitment to my team and the city, and always cast the organization and myself in a good light from here on out," he said, his voice cracking.

Copyright 2004 by The Associated Press