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Bengals' Maualuga avoids suspension, fined two game checks

The NFL fined Cincinnati Bengals linebacker Rey Maualuga two game checks and had him forfeit a two-week share of his signing bonus as punishment Tuesday for a drunken-driving conviction.

The league decided not to suspend Maualuga, who pleaded guilty to drunken-driving charges in February.

"I found out this morning, and I was ecstatic," Maualuga said of avoiding a suspension. "We've got everything put behind us now and we can just concentrate on football."

Police in northern Kentucky said Maualuga, a second-year pro from USC, hit a parking meter and two parked cars while driving drunk in January. He was charged with drunken and careless driving. Maualuga apologized and entered a guilty plea.

Maualuga received a suspended seven-day jail sentence and had his driver's license suspended for 90 days. He was ordered to participate in an alcohol and drug education program.

Maualuga told this spring that he has had a drinking problem dating to his days at USC but that he hasn't had a drink since the accident. Those issues are why it's believed Maualuga fell to Cincinnati in the second round of the 2009 draft instead of being picked in the top half of the first round, as projected.

Maualuga also was put on probation for two years and ordered to pay $884 in fines plus court costs. He was ordered to make restitution for damages from the accident.

Maualuga wasn't sure whether or not he would be suspended by the league under its substance-abuse and personal-conduct policies.

"I took care of what I could and let the league take steps they had to," he said. "I'm glad that everyone came together and took care of it."

Maualuga is starting at outside linebacker for the Bengals after a solid rookie season in which he recorded 63 tackles, one sack and three forced fumbles, but he is expected to eventually be moved to middle linebacker in Cincinnati's 4-3 scheme.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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