Thursday, April 1, 2010
Stallworth speaks about accident
OWINGS MILLS, Md. -- Baltimore Ravens wide receiver Donte' Stallworth held a news conference Thursday and talked openly about the death of Miami construction worker Mario Reyes, who he struck and killed Reyes while driving under the influence of alcohol.
"Now that I'm back playing, it's not in the back of my mind," Stallworth said at the Ravens training facility. "It's something I deal with every day, waking up in the morning and going to sleep at night. It's a tough situation for everyone involved. .. If I could go back and take that night over, I would. ... I'm not a bad person. That's now how my mom raised me."
Stallworth pleaded guilty to DUI manslaughter last year and served 24 days in jail. He was suspended for all of last season by NFL commissioner Roger Goodell.
He hasn't played football since the 2008 season with the Cleveland Browns.
Stallworth was reinstated by Goodell on Feb. 8 and signed to a one-year deal by Baltimore about eight days later after a tryout where he ran the 40-yard dash in 4.40 seconds. He also worked out for the Detroit Lions.
His familiarity with the Ravens' coaching staff made a difference. Stallworth played for Baltimore receivers coach Jim Hostler when he was with the New Orleans Saints and coach John Harbaugh with the Philadelphia Eagles.
Hostler supports the former first-round draft pick.
"He's an outstanding person," Hostler said. "He's got a great heart, you'll feel it right away."
Stallworth said that he has learned from the tragedy.
"I've become a better decision-maker," Stallworth said. "Making one bad decision can snowball into a whole terrible incident. One incident doesn't define a person at all. I could've used better judgment and I didn't."
Stallworth registered a blood-alcohol level of .126 after the crash. The legal limit in Florida is .08.
He has signed a seven-year, $35 million contract with the Browns and received a $4.5 million roster the night before the tragedy.
Stallworth said he doesn't speak with Reyes' family other than through his lawyers.
He said he has apologized to them and is extremely remorseful about what happened.
"My main focus was to make sure that the Reyes family knew that I was very apologetic about what happened," Stallworth said. "I jut wanted to let them know that if I could go back and take that night over, I would."
With his license revoked as part of his sentence, Stallworth said he has arranged for transportation to and from work.