Tuesday, August 11, 2009
Stallworth allowed to leave home to train
MIAMI -- Suspended Cleveland Browns wide receiver Donte' Stallworth will be allowed to leave home confinement to train with a strength and conditioning coach, a judge ruled Tuesday.
At a morning hearing, Miami-Dade Circuit Judge Dennis Murphy granted a motion to modify the conditions of Stallworth's house arrest. The 28-year-old Stallworth, who pleaded guilty in June to DUI manslaughter, will now be allowed to train outside of his home with a coach five days a week in South Florida, according to court documents.
The motion, submitted by attorney Christopher Lyons, said Stallworth needed to train with a coach so he can "maintain an elevated degree of physical conditioning."
Under the previous terms of his house arrest, Stallworth could not leave his residence except for work, community service or other approved activity. He will now be allowed to train with coach Pete Bommarito at a local high school, according to court documents.
"The fact is that he's presently not formally employed by the NFL," said prosecutor Patrick Trese, who objected to the motion. "And absent him being formally employed by the NFL, he's not in a position where I think it's necessary for him to worry about those types of issues."
Although Stallworth was suspended by the NFL, he is still under contract with the Browns and remains on the team roster.
Stallworth struck and killed 59-year-old Mario Reyes, a construction worker who was leaving his job as a crane operator, in a March 14 crash. Police said Stallworth had spent the night drinking at a Miami Beach club. He had a blood-alcohol level of .126, above Florida's .08 legal limit.
Stallworth described the early morning collision in an interview for the magazine show "E:60" on Tuesday night on ESPN. He said he was driving about 40 mph when he saw Reyes run into the street.
He recounted flashing his headlights and honking the horn to warn Reyes before slamming on the brakes.
"We collided," Stallworth said. "That's one of the many vivid things that still plays in my head to this day is the sound of that accident and you know, that's something to this day I can still hear as clear as it just happened."
Stallworth was given a 30-day jail sentence and reached an undisclosed financial settlement with Reyes' family. Besides jail time, Stallworth's sentence included two years of house arrest, eight years of probation and other restrictions.
"As the case goes, there is a lot more to it than that and it doesn't take away from the fact that I used poor judgment," Stallworth told ESPN, when asked if he got off easy. "But at the end of the day, I think that I have to take full responsibility for the choices that I made that morning."
Stallworth was suspended indefinitely by NFL commissioner Roger Goodell after the crash. He met with Goodell in New York last week about possible reinstatement.
Stallworth told ESPN he has been meeting weekly with a psychiatrist to cope with the "mental pictures that I get."
"It's very hard to deal with every day, every single day," he said.
He acknowledged that his suffering is nothing compared to that of Reyes' family.
"I can't imagine how they feel," he said in the interview. "If I ever so much as take a sip of alcohol and I get behind the wheel and drive after what had happened on March 14, I would be spitting on Mr. Reyes' grave."
The Browns are not counting on a quick return by Stallworth, signed to a seven-year, $35 million contract in 2008. Once it became apparent he could miss significant time, the Browns signed 12-year veteran receiver David Patten and added Brian Robiskie and Mohammed Massaquoi in April's NFL draft.
"At this point, we're just working with the guys we have here right now and we'll see what happens and assess it as we go," Browns coach Eric Mangini said Tuesday.
Stallworth has also played for the New England Patriots, Philadelphia Eagles and New Orleans Saints. The college star at Tennessee was injured for much of the year and finished the season with 17 catches for 170 yards and a touchdown.