Steelers suspend rookie lineman Ta'amu after South Side DUI arrest
Alameda Ta'amu runs a drill at the NFL scouting combine in February.
Veteran Casey Hampton, left, explains something to rookie Alameda Ta'amu during the team's minicamp.
Steelers defensive lineman Alameda Ta'amu, left, with defensive line coach John Mitchell
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The Steelers have suspended rookie defensive lineman Alameda Ta'amu for two weeks because of his Sunday morning arrest on the South Side that resulted in 15 charges, including felonies.
Mike Tomlin revealed the punishment at the start of his noon press conference. He said Ta'amu would not be paid and will not be permitted in the team's facility during those two weeks.
"We deemed his actions to be detrimental to the our team," Tomlin said. "It's a disturbing incident, one we take very seriously in our community."
Ta'amau, a fourth-round draft choice, will not be allowed to practice with the team or attend the facility during his suspension. He will be allowed to return the week leading up to the Nov. 4 game against the New York Giants.
The action by the Steelers points up the league's desire to have the involved team handle disciplinary measures for offending players.
But Commissioner Roger Goodell can increase the penalty for the player and also fine or discipline the team if he thinks the original penalty is not severe enough.
Tomlin said there is no further punishment planned for Ta'amu, who is scheduled for a preliminary hearing Oct. 23.
"We thought it was very important to act quickly in addressing this," Tomlin said.
In the Sunday incident, Ta'amu faces felony counts of fleeing police and aggravated assault while driving drunk and three counts of aggravated assault because officers said he nearly ran down police with his vehicle.
He also is charged with 10 misdemeanors, including resisting arrest and attempting escape. Police said he crashed his 2006 Lincoln Navigator into several vehicles while fleeing them on the South Side.
The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reported earlier that court records show that Ta'amu also was charged with driving under the influence in October 2011 for an incident that occurred Dec. 12, 2009, when Ta'amu was playing for the University of Washington.
Trooper Joe Gannon of the Washington State Patrol wrote in a report that he stopped Ta'amu for driving 73 mph in a 60 mph zone on Interstate 5 about 3:40 a.m. and "smelled an odor of alcohol coming from him and ... observed his blood-shot watery eyes."
Police said Ta'amu, who was 19 at the time of the Washington arrest, blew a 0.097 and 0.098 on breath tests and told them he drank six Budweisers in three hours before he attempted to drive home in a 1993 Chevrolet Suburban.
Prosecutors initially charged him with driving under the influence, but he instead later pleaded guilty to negligent driving, for which he was sentenced to one day in a community-work program and ordered to pay a $350 fine.
First Published October 16, 2012 12:16 am