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Seahawks' Tatupu pleads guilty to DUI charge

KIRKLAND, Wash. (AP) -Seattle Seahawks linebacker Lofa Tatupu pleaded guilty Monday to drunken driving and was sentenced to a day in jail and fines totaling $1,255.

"Lofa fully accepted responsibility by pleading guilty as charged. He asked for no special consideration and he received none," said Tatupu's lawyer, Jon Scott Fox. "He will pay his dues and put this matter behind him."

Municipal Judge Michael J. Lambo also ordered that Tatupu's license be suspended for 90 days and have an ignition interlock breath alcohol device installed in his car for one year, said Sarah Roberts, a prosecutor in this Seattle suburb.

The 25-year-old Tatupu, who is a co-captain and cornerstone of the Seahawks' defense, will likely serve his sentence before the start of training camp on July 24, Roberts said.

He will be assigned to the same type of jail cell and receive the same treatment as any other inmate, she added.

"Oh, yeah, he won't be treated any differently," Roberts said.

The Seahawks signed the third-year pro to a six-year, $42 million contract extension on March 25, lauding him as a player teammates should emulate.

Tatupu was stopped in Kirkland, home of the Seahawks' headquarters and practice facility, at 2 a.m. May 10 for driving faster than 15 mph above the posted 35-mph limit. A police officer said Tatupu was driving erratically before finally stopping at a fast-food parking lot.

At the police station two hours later, Tatupu registered 0.155 and 0.158 in breath test readings, nearly twice the state intoxication threshold of 0.08, according to an arrest report.

Lambo sentenced him to 365 days in jail, with 364 days suspended, plus fines. Roberts said the sentence was normal for first-time drunken driving offenders in Washington state who had no arrest record and when no accident or injuries were involved.

Tatupu has completed an eight-hour alcohol and drug informational school, a court-ordered victims panel and a court-ordered evaluation which indicated he did not have a problem with alcohol, she added.

Tatupu has not spoken publicly about the arrest and issued a statement through his lawyer Monday that was almost a repeat of his statement released through the team in May.

"I again want to apologize to my family, teammates, the Seahawks ownership and organization, and the fans for making a poor decision and putting myself in a bad situation," his statement read. "I take seriously my role as a leader on this team and in the community and because of that, I'm disappointed and embarrassed by the level of poor judgment I used. Thankfully, nobody was hurt. This will never happen again, and I hope through hard work on and off the field to begin earning your respect and trust again."

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