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Police: Steelers wideout Ward failed his field sobriety test

  • By NFL.com Wire Reports
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Pittsburgh Steelers wide receiver Hines Ward had glassy, bloodshot eyes and failed field sobriety tests during a traffic stop in Atlanta that landed him a drunken driving charge, according to a police report released Monday.

A transit police officer pulled Ward over just before 2:30 a.m. Saturday after he left his lane and at one point hit a curb in his gray Aston Martin, the report says. The transit police officer called a DeKalb County police officer, who wrote in the report that the former Super Bowl MVP and reigning "Dancing With the Stars" champ smelled strongly of alcohol.

Mug shot of Steelers WR Hines Ward following his Saturday arrest on suspicion of DUI in Georgia.
Mug shot of Steelers WR Hines Ward following his Saturday arrest on suspicion of DUI in Georgia. (DeKalb County Jail/Special to NFL.com)

Ward told the officer he had had two bottles of Corona beer three hours earlier at an establishment in the city's Buckhead neighborhood.

The officer asked him to get out of the car and administered a series of field sobriety tests, including a hand-held breath test that registered positive for alcohol, the report said. Ward later refused to give a breath sample on a state-administered machine at the DeKalb County jail, police spokeswoman Mekka Parish said. That test is used to determine a person's level of intoxication and can be used as evidence in court.

Ward swayed back and forth and became agitated during the sobriety tests, the report says. He also could not keep his balance and mixed up and omitted letters in the alphabet, the report says.

Atlanta lawyer Andrew Ree on Saturday released a statement saying the 35-year-old Ward was not impaired by alcohol while driving and cooperated fully with police. Ree said in an email Monday that he stands by the earlier statement and had no further comment.

"On July 9th Hines Ward was stopped by Dekalb Co. police for suspicion of misdemeanor driving under the influence," the statement read. "He cooperated fully with the police and truthfully answered all of their questions. We are currently in the process of ascertaining all the facts. From our preliminary investigation we can tell you that we are confident that the facts will show that Hines was NOT impaired by alcohol while driving. However, Hines is deeply saddened by this incident and apologizes to his fans and the Steelers organization for this distraction."

Steelers spokesman Burt Lauten told the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette this weekend that the team and the Rooney family knew of Ward's arrest but had no comment.

After failing several field sobriety tests, Ward was arrested and booked into the DeKalb County jail and was later released on bond. He asked that his car be released to his passenger, Cory Allen, the report says.

Video from inside the DeKalb officer's vehicle captured the traffic stop, but police declined Monday to release the video because the case is still active.

Ward is set to appear Oct. 6 in DeKalb County State Court. He faces a misdemeanor driving under the influence charge, punishable by up to one year in jail and a $1,000 fine.

News of Ward's arrest sparked a war of words on Twitter between Baltimore Ravens running back Ray Rice and Steelers safety Ryan Clark.

"Well it looks like Hines Ward will miss week 1 when the lockout ends DUI charge not a good look," Rice tweeted on Saturday.

The Ravens and Steelers are scheduled to meet in Week 1 this season. After some back-and-fourth between the players, Clark made a promise to pick up the conversation down the road.

"I hear ya brother. Thought we were all better than that," he tweeted. "Wouldnt speak negative of you. I'll find you! It's not hard. God bless."

Since being drafted in the third round out of Georgia in 1998, Ward has been a four-time Pro Bowl selection, playing on teams that won two Super Bowls.

Dancing with professional partner Kym Johnson, Ward in May became the second NFL player to win the "Dancing" crown after Emmitt Smith won in 2006. He bested actresses Kirstie Alley and Chelsea Kane to become the season 12 champion of the TV celebrity dance competition.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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