Sergio Kindle pleads guilty to DWI

ELLICOTT CITY, Md. -- Baltimore Ravens linebacker Sergio Kindle pleaded guilty to drunken driving on Tuesday, apologized to a judge and avoided jail time.

Prosecutors recommended that Kindle get 30 days in jail. Instead, Howard County District Court Judge Neil Edward Axel sentenced the 23-year-old Kindle to two years of unsupervised probation, suspended all but five days of a year in jail, and waived a $1,000 fine. He was ordered to abstain from alcohol and attend self-help sessions on a weekly basis.

Kindle was given credit for five days served last week in a Maryland treatment facility, so he won't have to serve jail time. He had entered the treatment facility voluntarily.

Kindle declined interview requests after the hearing, but spoke briefly in court.

"I apologize and am remorseful for my actions," he told the judge.

Axel noted the 2010 second-round draft pick out of Texas had voluntarily sought help at his own expense since his arrest last December.

Defense lawyer Warren Alperstein said Kindle was delighted with the sentence.

"He is eager to put this behind him, but certainly recognizes the need to continue to address the issues that caused him to be here today," Alperstein said.

Kindle missed his entire rookie season with a fractured skull suffered when he fell down two flights of stairs last July, days before training camp.

Ravens general manager Ozzie Newsome recently expressed optimism Kindle eventually will play football again.

"Well, Sergio has made a lot of progress from the time he fell down the stairs," Newsome said during a conference call with season ticket holders. "Right now, it's still in medical hands. We are very optimistic that there may be an opportunity for him to get back on the field. When will that happen? We're not sure."

State's Attorney Dario Broccolino expressed disappointment with the sentence, noting Kindle's high blood alcohol content of 0.17 and a 2007 drunken driving conviction in Texas. He is classified under the NFL's substance-abuse policy as a Stage II offender.

"A second-time offender should have some more serious sanctions imposed on him," Broccolino said. "I don't care if he's a football player or a Redskin or a Raven. I'm disappointed that the judge's sentence didn't follow our recommendation."

Kindle was pulled over by police in December and issued citations for driving under the influence of alcohol, failure to obey traffic control devices and speeding. Kindle said he was driving a friend to the airport.

In a separate incident, he crashed his car into an apartment building when he was admittedly texting while driving. He was charged with leaving the scene of an accident.

Kindle was signed to a one-year, $320,000 contract for the rookie minimum last fall that included no signing bonus. He was retained as an exclusive-rights free agent for next season.