Baltimore Ravens linebacker Sergio Kindle pleaded guilty Tuesday to drunken driving on Tuesday, apologized to a judge and avoided jail time.
Prosecutors recommended that Kindle get 30 days in jail. Instead, Howard County (Md.) District Court Judge Neil Edward Axel sentenced the 23-year-old Kindle to two years of unsupervised probation, suspended all but five days of a year in jail, and waived a $1,000 fine. He was ordered to abstain from alcohol and attend self-help sessions on a weekly basis.
Kindle was given credit for five days served last week in a Maryland treatment facility, so he won't have to serve jail time. He had entered the treatment facility voluntarily.
Kindle declined interview requests after the hearing, but he spoke briefly in court.
"I apologize and am remorseful for my actions," he told the judge.
Axel noted the 2010 second-round draft pick out of Texas had voluntarily sought help at his own expense after his arrest last December.
Defense lawyer Warren Alperstein said Kindle was delighted with the sentence.
"He is eager to put this behind him but certainly recognizes the need to continue to address the issues that caused him to be here today," Alperstein said.
Kindle missed his entire rookie season with a fractured skull suffered when he fell down two flights of stairs last July, days before training camp.
Ravens general manager Ozzie Newsome recently expressed optimism Kindle eventually will play football again.
"Well, Sergio has made a lot of progress from the time he fell down the stairs," Newsome said during a conference call with season-ticket holders. "Right now, it's still in medical hands. We are very optimistic that there may be an opportunity for him to get back on the field. When will that happen? We're not sure."
Alperstein expressed optimism that Kindle will be able to play again after the NFL lockout is over. Alperstein told the Baltimore Sun his client is classified as a Stage 2 offender by the NFL's alcohol and drug policy, subject to 10 random urine-analysis tests until the league's collective bargaining agreement with the players union expired in March.
This is the second time Kindle has faced a DUI charge. He was charged with the same offense during his time at Texas. Also at UT, he was involved in a one-car accident when he crashed into an apartment building. He admitted later he had been texting while driving.
State's Attorney Dario Broccolino expressed disappointment with the sentence, noting Kindle's high blood-alcohol content of 0.17 and the 2007 drunken-driving conviction in Texas.
"A second-time offender should have some more serious sanctions imposed on him," Broccolino said. "I don't care if he's a football player or a Redskin or a Raven. I'm disappointed that the judge's sentence didn't follow our recommendation."
Kindle was pulled over by police in December and issued citations for driving under the influence of alcohol, failure to obey traffic-control devices and speeding. Kindle said he was driving a friend to the airport.
Kindle was signed to a one-year, $320,000 contract for the rookie minimum last fall that included no signing bonus. He was retained as an exclusive-rights free agent for next season.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.