Pittsburgh Steelers rookie nose tackle Alameda Ta’amu, a former standout at the University of Washington, apologized after waiving his right to a preliminary hearing on charges stemming from an alleged drunken-driving rampage.
The 22-year-old fourth-round draft pick was arrested last month after police in Pittsburgh said he crashed into several other cars, then ran away from officers on the city’s South Side, a neighborhood known for bars and night clubs.
The Steelers suspended Ta’amu for two games immediately after his arrest. He’s back on the roster, though he has yet to play this season.
After his brief appearance Thursday in Pittsburgh Municipal Court, Ta’amu told reporters, “If there was any other word I would say it, but ‘sorry’ is the only word I can say right now.”
Ta’amu, a graduate of Rainier Beach High School in Seattle, was driving an SUV the wrong way at about 2:30 a.m. on Oct. 14 when he fled from officers and crashed into four parked cars, injuring a woman, police said. He then tried to run away before he was restrained by four officers and arrested, authorities said.
He will be formally arraigned Dec. 31 on felony charges of aggravated assault by vehicle and fleeing and eluding police, as well as misdemeanor charges including resisting arrest, escape and DUI. By waiving the hearing, Ta’amu acknowledged there was enough evidence for him to stand trial, although he could seek to resolve them through a plea bargain.
Three charges of felony aggravated assault — all for allegedly fighting with police — were withdrawn, but 18 other felony, misdemeanor and summary citations are now headed to Allegheny County Common Pleas Court.
Defense attorney Robert Del Greco said Ta’amu is trying to negotiate financial settlements to pay for the damage and injuries he caused.
“He is contrite. He has accepted responsibility and is in counseling” for alcoholism, Del Greco told reporters.
The NFL will hold 10 regional combines and a super regional combine beginning late in January. The regionals, including one March 23-24 in Renton, supplement the national scouting combine in February in Indianapolis. … The Jets, who will take on the Seahawks on Sunday, promoted linebacker Ricky Sapp from the practice squad to the active roster and added safety Antonio Allen to the practice squad. … Bills defensive end Chris Kelsay hurt his neck during practice, leaving his status uncertain for this weekend’s game at New England. … Bears cornerback Charles Tillman said on Twitter that he will play Sunday against the Texans. His status had been up in the air after he said he might not be available because his wife, Jackie, is due to give birth. … Cowboys cornerback Mike Jenkins left practice with a back injury, putting his availability for Sunday’s game against the Eagles game in question.