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Steelers' Ward pleads guilty to lesser charge in DUI case

Pittsburgh Steelers wide receiver Hines Ward pleaded guilty to a reckless driving charge in connection with his July arrest on suspicion of driving under the influence, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported Wednesday.

Ward, 35, was sentenced to serve 12 months of probation, perform 80 hours of community service and pay a $2,000 fine. He also must undergo an alcohol evaluation and participate in a risk reduction program.

Ward also pleaded no contest to a charge of failing to maintain his lane.

"We are grateful for the outcome," Andrew Ree, Ward's lawyer, said in a statement, via the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review. "By dropping the DUI charge it is clear that the prosecution did not have sufficient evidence to proceed.

"Hines has always maintained that his ability to drive was in no way impaired and we are pleased that the facts support his innocence. He is thankful to his legal team and to all who stand by him. Hines has a great respect for the legal system and is also grateful in particular to the state for the professional manner in which they handled this manner."

According to The Journal-Constitution, DeKalb County police pulled Ward over around 2:30 a.m. on July 9, for failing to stay in his lane and hitting a curb. Police said Ward failed a field sobriety test and refused to take a breathalyzer test, then was arrested.

Ward is scheduled to become a free agent next month. He has publicly stated he'd like to remain with the Steelers, but it seems unlikely the team will bring him back.

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