Tatupu back with Seahawks after DUI arrest
KIRKLAND, Wash. -- Lofa Tatupu walked off the practice field and draped his massive arm over the shoulders of Dan Curran. The two Seahawks then traded laughs after the first practice of minicamp Monday.
Curran is the type of player the Seahawks expect Tatupu to mentor. He is a first-year, undrafted free agent trying to learn.
But Tatupu's learning his own lessons right now.
Seattle's captain and three-time Pro Bowl linebacker is facing a drunken driving charge. Kirkland police say Tatupu was apprehended in the early morning of May 10 after an officer saw him driving about 50 mph in a 35 mph zone a couple of miles from team headquarters.
The Seahawks' public relations staff did not allow Tatupu to speak publicly Monday.
Last month, Tatupu issued a statement through the team apologizing to his family, teammates, the organization and fans for a "poor decision" that he said disappointed and embarrassed him.
The police report stated Tatupu registered blood-alcohol levels of .155 and .158 in breath test readings -- nearly twice the .08 legal limit in Washington.
Tyrah Kahn, an assistant with the private law firm Moberly and Roberts, with which Kirkland contracts to prosecute, said Monday the office still had not made a decision whether to file charges, and that the delay was not unusual in such DUI cases.
Seahawks coach Mike Holmgren has already made his decision about the incident. He described it as "a good guy gets jammed up."
"He's really a fine guy. And you know, I always say, 'But for the grace of God go I," Holmgren said.
"I think if we all looked at our things that we do and all the times that we've been driving too fast and didn't get caught, things like that -- you know, stuff happens and it's life. And he felt very, very bad about it. He is a good man. He is a leader of this football team. ...
"So he's learned from this -- 'never happen again.' So we move on."
Holmgren said he hasn't had to address Tatupu's leadership of the team.
The 25-year-old Tatupu and Pro Bowl quarterback Matt Hasselbeck conduct the team's offseason drills during periods the league prohibits coaches from being on the field.
"I didn't have to say a whole lot to him. He knew. He knows. He's that type of young man," Holmgren said. "He felt bad and he knows what his role is on this football team. I didn't have to say anything, really. He felt horrible."
The Seahawks pride themselves on the character of their players -- and they've used Tatupu as an example for teammates.
"He epitomizes for us what a Seahawk should be," team president Tim Ruskell said in March.
That was when the Seahawks -- who traded up in the second round of 2005's draft to get Tatupu -- gave him a contract worth $42 million. It could keep him in Seattle through 2015.
"This will never happen again, and I hope through hard work on and off the field to begin earning your respect and trust again," Tatupu said in his statement after his arrest.
The arrest was the latest in a series of off-the-field issues for the Seahawks, who have won four consecutive NFC West titles.
In April, starting defensive tackle Rocky Bernard, 29, was arrested in Seattle. He is accused of hitting his 22-year-old ex-girlfriend in the forehead at a nightclub and then pounding on the windows of a car as she fled.
Bernard pleaded innocent to domestic violence assault and was released from jail pending a pretrial hearing. On Monday, Seattle's Municipal Court granted Bernard a continuance until June 16. He is not practicing as he recovers from surgery in April on his left foot.
Also, Bobby Engram skipped another voluntary minicamp day Monday. The 35-year-old wide receiver, who set career highs of 94 catches and 1,147 yards receiving in 2007, wants more than the final year and $1.7 million he has remaining on his contract.
"Absolutely, he will be here at training camp," Holmgren said of Engram.
Yet Holmgren doesn't see this as Seahawks running amok.
"I don't think it's been any different than any offseasons that we've had before, to be honest with you," said Holmgren, who is entering his 10th and final year as Seattle's coach. "You know, there is always a chance you will have a contract thing, and we've got that thing with Bobby.
"There's always a chance like a good guy gets jammed up a bit, and that's what's happened with Lofa."
Copyright 2008 by The Associated Press
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