Cincinnati Bengals rookie linebacker Rey Maualuga was arrested early Friday in Covington on charges of drunken driving and careless driving after he allegedly struck two parked cars and a parking meter.
Maualuga, 23, of Cincinnati appeared in Kenton County District Court via a video link from the jail. He pleaded not guilty and was released from jail at 10:30 a.m. on his promise to return for future appearances. He left with Covington attorney W. Robert Lotz.
Maualuga was arrested at 1:45 a.m. Friday after officers responded to 634 Scott Street for a report of a traffic accident, according to Covington Assistant Police Chief Spike Jones.
Police determined that Maualuga was the driver of a 2003 Pontiac Sunfire with Ohio plates that struck two parked vehicles and a parking meter, Jones said. Two female passengers who were with Maualuga were released without being charged.
Maualuga smelled of "intoxicants" and told the officer that he had "about six Captain and Coke drinks," the report states. The officer gave Maualuga field sobriety tests, which he failed, the report states.
"Subject had slurred speech, blood shot, watery eyes and he was unsteady on his feet," the officer wrote.
Maualuga had a blood-alcohol level of .157, according to a Covington Police report. The legal limit is .08. He is scheduled to appear in court Feb. 25 for a pre-trial conference.
Maualuga's arrest puts him up for possible discipline under the NFL's personal conduct policy. Since it is an an alcohol-related offense, he also could be entered into Stage 1 of the league's substance abuse program. Entry in that program is confidential. It is only when a player is in Stage 2 or 3 of the program, where he could be suspended for drug- or alcohol-related offenses that it is publicized.
Maualuga remained in Cincinnati since the end of the season to continue rehabilitation after suffering a broken left ankle in the Dec. 27 game against Kansas City. He started 15 games at outside linebacker in his rookie season after being drafted in the second round.
Bengals public relations director Jack Brennan said: "We don't believe it's appropriate to comment on matters that are not resolved."
This is not Maualuga's first arrest on alcohol-related charges. As a freshman at Southern California in 2005, he drank too much and got in a fight at a Halloween party and was arrested for misdemeanor battery. The charge was eventually dismissed when he agreed to participate in an arraignment diversion program that included counseling, community service and attending Alcoholics Anonymous meetings.
In 2006, the Los Angeles Times reported that then-coach Pete Carroll disciplined him for unruly behavior at a fraternity party. Said Maualuga of those incidents in a USA Today article in 2008: "You learn that you're only given a certain number of chances. If you keep going back to the same things you were doing, it shows that you don't learn from anything. You're not a person that people can count on. It's all about respect, and you can lose that respect. People won't look up to you."