Pittsburgh Steelers star wide receiver Hines Ward has been arrested in Georgia on a drunk driving charge, but his manager said in a statement that he wasn't impaired.
The DeKalb County sheriff's office says the former Super Bowl MVP and "Dancing With the Stars" champ was arrested early Saturday by an officer with the DeKalb County Police Department's DUI task force. He was booked into the DeKalb County jail in suburban Atlanta at 3:41 a.m. and charged with driving under the influence. He was released on $1,300 bond, according to DeKalb officials, although according to the DeKalb County Online Judicial System it was $1,000 bond.
The sheriff's office said it had turned over paperwork to the courts and couldn't release any further information about the player's arrest.
Steelers spokesman Burt Lauten said the Steelers and the Rooney family were aware of Mr. Ward's arrest but would not comment further. Mr. Ward's agent, Andrew Ree, released this statement:
"On July 9th Hines Ward was stopped by Dekalb Co. police for suspicion of misdemeanor driving under the influence. He cooperated fully with the police and truthfully answered all of their questions. We are currently in the process of ascertaining all the facts. From our preliminary investigation we can tell you that we are confident that the facts will show that Hines was NOT impaired by alcohol while driving. However, Hines is deeply saddened by this incident and apologizes to his fans and the Steelers organization for this distraction."
The 35-year-old Mr. Ward played football at the University of Georgia.
Mr. Ward has not commented on the arrest on his Facebook or Twitter accounts, except to include his agent's statement. Previously he had been posting about the risks of texting while driving and his efforts to stop.
He wrote: "How many of you guys and gals text while driving? I am bad at doing that. It's very unsafe." Friday after others tweeted responses he wrote, "Thanks for the posts. I'm glad to see I'm not alone with my addiction. Today driving home from workouts, my phone was off and I singing songs all the way home. Haha and it felt good to not hear that phone make any noise. Really going to work on it."
Fans have been posting their opinions on social networking sites.
One person wrote: "DUI....:o(........why does everyone think that they are "okay" enough to drive...please pray and get past this....WOW"
Another said, "You were the last one that I would expect this from."
A third wrote, " Hines seriously a DUI...you are ruining your image man, kids look up to you and my husband is pissed. You could have killed yourself or someone else, you are not as invincible as you think!"
In May, Mr. Ward was handcuffed and briefly detained by Los Angeles police after a mix-up over a stolen car.
Mr. Ward, who was in Los Angeles for "Dancing With The Stars," was in a car driven by a female companion after leaving a North Hollywood restaurant when police pulled them over at 1:30 a.m. Pacific time on May 5.
His unidentified companion had reported the car missing earlier in the night, but had since recovered it and forgotten to alert police, Los Angeles Police public information officer Norma Eisenman said.
Police cuffed Mr. Ward -- standard procedure in stolen car stops, Officer Eisenman said -- but he and his companion were allowed to go on their way once the mix-up was clarified.
The Associated Press contributed to this report. First Published July 9, 2011 2:30 PM