Steelers' Ta'amu catches another break

Steelers nose tackle Alameda Ta'amu pled guilty to reckless endangerment, resisting arrest and drunken driving stemming from a police chase last fall. According to police, his SUV struck four parked vehicles, injuring a woman who was sitting in one of them.

What punishment did Ta'amu receive? He was sentenced Thursday to 18 months of probation and will spend four days in a program that's an alternative to jail.

Ta'amu should feel lucky. He actually should feel lucky that he is still with the Steelers.

It looked like team officials were taking a hard stance with him last year when they suspended their rookie fourth-round pick and later waived him. But the Steelers brought him back for the final game of the season.

The Steelers must believe Ta'amu can be the long-term solution to Casey Hampton's spot, because it's hard to justify why he is still with the team otherwise.

I'm all for second chances, and NFL teams couldn't field a full roster these days if they didn't feel the same. But this wasn't a drunken driving incident. Based on the police report, it was a drunken driving rampage.

The judge, on Thursday, found Ta'amu not guilty of fleeing from police after Ta'amu explained that he thought an officer in an unmarked car was an angry motorist chasing him.

"I was a rookie and I was scared. I was a Steeler and I was drunk driving," Ta'amu told the judge. "I wrecked my car and I panicked."

This would be easier to believe if this was Ta'amu's first incident. He was charged with driving under the influence after an incident in 2009 when he was playing for the University of Washington.

So, Ta'amu has two strikes against him. A third one would be a black mark on the Steelers, because Ta'amu shouldn't be on the team.