OWINGS MILLS – Baltimore Ravens coach John Harbaugh expressed disappointment in rookie linebacker Sergio Kindle one day after the second-round draft pick was arrested for driving under the influence of alcohol when he registered a blood-alcohol level over twice the Maryland legal limit.
Kindle, 23, met with Harbaugh on Monday at the Ravens’ training complex after being arrested and charged early Sunday morning with DWI, failure to obey traffic control devices and speeding.
He registered a 0.17 blood-alcohol level, over twice the Maryland limit of 0.08.
This isn’t Kindle’s first brush with law enforcement having a previous DWI while attending the University of Texas as well as a separate incident where he drove his car into an apartment building when he was texting while driving as well as getting into bar fights.
"He’s got a track record for making really poor decisions, and he knows that," Harbaugh said. "That’s a problem, and if he wants to achieve the things in football and life, you’ve got to make good decisions and you’ve got to do the right things. And you’ve got to earn that trust and loyalty.
"So, he’s not off to a good start through college or the NFL right now. But he’s a good person. He’s got a good heart, I believe, and I think he’s fully capable of achieving all of his goals. It’s on his shoulders, right? He’s the one who’s got to make those choices.
Kindle was pulled over by police at 4:09 a.m. Sunday morning when he was driving 70 mph in a 55 mph zone and was swerving, according to a police report.
Police detected a strong odor of alcohol and he failed a series of sobriety tests.
He was booked and processed and is now free on a $10,000 bond. Kindle was pulled over on Route 1 near Route 32 in Savage and was given a ticket for driving 70 mph in a 55 mph zone.
"First and foremost, I would apologize," Kindle said in a telephone interview with 24×7. "I don’t want to put the organization’s name in a negative light due to my actions. I made a mistake by driving. I don’t know what’s going to happen or how they’re going to handle that."
Kindle, who’s out for the season with a fractured skull suffered in July that landed him on the reserve non-football injury list, said he was driving a friend to the airport.
Police said that Kindle has acknowledged drinking at a night club in Washington, D.C.
When asked how much he had to drink, Kindle replied: "It wasn’t much, but I guess it was enough. I guess it was enough for me to fail a Breathalyzer."
Kindle could face punishment from the NFL under its personal conduct policy. Playing under a one-year, $320,000 contract, Kindle could also have jeopardized his future status with the Ravens.
"Disappointed, obviously," Harbaugh said. "It’s not something we wanted for Sergio, it’s not something he wanted. He’s very remorseful about it, but he made a big mistake. And he’s better than that.
"He knows that. Now, there’s a process that takes place, both a legal process and an NFL process. So, we’ll just let the two things take their course and see where it goes."
Kindle suffered a hairline fracture of his skull a few days before training camp when he fell down two flights of stairs at a friend’s house while searching for the bathroom in a dark house in the middle of the night.
Kindle has acknowledged he takes medication for narcolepsy, a sleeping disorder.
Last week, he got bad news from a doctor at Sinai Hospital who told him that he might not be able to play next season due to his head injury and neurological condition.
Kindle has seemed extremely disappointed and sad about that development.
"It wouldn’t mean anything to me," said Harbaugh when asked if the team is worried that Kindle’s medical outlook may be affecting his state of mind. "That’s not an excuse. Yeah, we’re always concerned about everybody’s state of mind. I think we do a really good job here medically with our medical staff.
"Doctors, we’re involved with psychology, we’re involved with all those things to try to help all of our employees. I think the Ravens are one of the more forward-thinking organizations in the league that way. So, he’s in good hands that way. In the end, it’s his responsibility and he knows that."
HELP WANTED AT LONG SNAPPER: Rookie long snapper Morgan Cox is out for the season with a torn anterior cruciate ligament and a sprained medial collateral ligament and will be placed on injured reserve.
A magnetic resonance imaging exam confirmed the grim initial diagnosis conducted after the Ravens 20-10 win over the Cleveland Browns.
The Ravens will try out long snappers today and sign one before Wednesday’s practice.
"He’s got a torn ACL and he’s got a third degree sprain of his MCL, so he’s out for the year," Harbaugh said. "Like we said after the game, that was our fear. He managed to play through that. Willis McGahee would have been our long snapper and Willis does a great job, but we’d rather have Morgan Cox or a professional long snapper doing that job.
"It would have been tough to win the game without him. And for him to gut it out the way he did was probably one of the keys to the victory. So, I’m really proud of his gutsy performance."
Cox was concerned Sunday that he had suffered a season-ending injury.
"This is extremely disappointing," Cox said. "I’m trying to stay hopeful. Maybe it wasn’t as bad as they say it is, but I’ll do the best I can and get back as soon as possible. .
"It hurt, it hurt a lot, but we braced it up and we got through the snapping part of it. It’s part of the game. I’m not mad about it."
The Ravens will have trouble recreating the chemistry and timing built between Cox, holder Sam Koch and kicker Billy Cundiff.
"It’s something that’s going to be tough," Harbaugh said. "They’ve taken every snap together. So, those guys do get an operation, a chemistry, built up.
"But we’ll bring in a good long snapper and short snapper. Somebody’s who has been a pro and has done it before and we’ll be OK."
INJURY UPDATES: Rookie tight end Dennis Pitta suffered his second concussion of the season against the Browns, so it’s unclear when he’ll be medically cleared to return.
The NFL has stricter rules now about passing a baseline test before players are allowed to play again after a head injury.
"I’m not really sure of the science on it, but we’ll just sit tight," Harbaugh said. "The thing we’ve learned to do with concussions is to assume that they’re out until they’re back. You just can’t count on those guys.
"David Reed’s another guy who is in that boat right now. We’ve got to see how he does, too. So we’ll keep our fingers crossed for both of those guys."
The Ravens are hopeful that inside linebacker Tavares Gooden will be able to play soon after suffering another dislocated left shoulder.
"Pretty sore," Harbaugh said. "I think he’s going to be OK. We just have to see how it responds, but our trainers are pretty confident that he’ll be OK."
The Ravens were cautious with tight end Todd Heap on Sunday, holding him out for the third game in a row for fear that he would re-injure his pulled right hamstring.
"We just decided to play it safe," Harbaugh said. "He probably could have played, but then we would have been risking more than we wanted to. We felt like we had two tight ends that could play. The young guys have done a nice job.
"But then we lose Dennis on the very first kickoff on a concussion situation. So we ended up a little bit light there, but I’d say he’s got a great chance this week."
Meanwhile, strong safety Tom Zbikowski isn’t expected to play in the final regular season game Sunday against the Cincinnati Bengals.
However, the team doesn’t plan to place him on injured reserve due to his bulging disc in his back.
"We think he’s got a good chance to get back for the playoffs," Harbaugh said. "He was running around today a little bit. So again, we’ll keep our fingers crossed, but I’m hopeful for the first round of the playoffs."
NO CONTRACT TALKS AT THIS TIME: Harbaugh’s contract expires after next season and owner Steve Bisciotti told the Times last spring that the team won’t let him head into 2011 without a new contract.
Harbaugh said he isn’t worried about long-term contract talks, which aren’t scheduled to take place until after the season.
"That is so far from my mind right now," he said. "People say, ‘How can that be?’ Because there’s no time for that. And the organization, talking to [owner] Steve [Bisciotti] and [team president] Dick [Cass] and [general manage] Ozzie [Newsome], that’s on the back burner.
"We agreed that would be on the back burner until after the season way back, a long time ago. We’ll just figure it out when the time comes. Right now, we’ve got too much time to do. But thanks for asking."
QUICK HIT: Harbaugh was given a game ball by special-teams ace Brendon Ayanbadejo in the locker room after the game
"I just wish he’d put a shirt on before he did it, but if you’ve got a build like Brendon Ayanbadejo, you don’t put a shirt on, right?" Harbaugh said. "Can we all agree with that? None of us in here can make that claim, but it was really pretty special.
"We’ve got something really meaningful and really special. That stuff is always meaningful. I told the players that every one of those coaches is getting one of those game balls, and I think they agreed with that, so it was good."