'I'm still the same guy,' says Tatupu, on drunken-driving aftermath

Updated: July 25, 2008, 10:38 PM ET
Associated Press

KIRKLAND, Wash. -- Lofa Tatupu was noticeably nervous while fielding questions about pleading guilty earlier this month to drunken driving.

And he wasn't eager to elaborate Friday on his experience as a three-time Pro Bowl linebacker serving a one-day sentence recently among other inmates at a jail near the team's headquarters.

"It was 24 hours, just like anyone else does if they have that offense," said Tatupu, who signed a six-year, $42 million contract extension in March, six weeks before Kirkland police arrested him.

He registered 0.155 and 0.158 in breath test readings, nearly twice the Washington state intoxication threshold of 0.08, according to an arrest report. He was also fined $1,255.

"I want to apologize ... to anyone I have let down, especially the kids out there. It's not the right thing to do. You shouldn't drink and drive," Tatupu said. "I'll never forget about it. I'm just glad no one was injured. I think I'll be a better person for it. I already know I have taken great strides."

Tatupu, lauded by team executives as the player all Seahawks should emulate, said he doesn't believe his leadership status has changed on the team.

"I'm still the same guy," he said.

"Not necessarily something you want to have associated with your name, as I've worked so hard to have my name in a good light. I'm going to do everything I can to earn the trust and respect back, to restore it."

Starting defensive tackle Rocky Bernard was less revealing while addressing for the first time his offseason arrest for domestic violence. Bernard, entering the final year of $13 million, three-year contract, pleaded not guilty to a domestic violence assault charge. He was accused of hitting his girlfriend in the head at a Seattle nightclub in April.

Bernard, who is back on the field after a surgery for a double hernia, will have a domestic violence charge erased from his record if he complies with a series of stipulations over the next two years.

"I'm just glad it's over with," Bernard said. "It's over and done with, so I'm just glad to put that past me and move forward, really."

Someone asked how much of a "distraction" the case was for him in the offseason.

"Not really. It wasn't much for me, you know what I mean?" he said. "It happened. It got over with, you know. And that's pretty much all I have to say about it, really."

Both Tatupu and Bernard could face league discipline for their arrests.


Copyright 2008 by The Associated Press