After serving about a month in rehab following an offseason arrest for DUI, Maualuga discussed it for the first time with the media during the start of Cincinnati's offseason program.
"All I can say is you're looking at a different guy, a different person," Maualuga said. "I just hope the city of Cincinnati would accept my apology and hopefully help me through all of this."
A remorseful Maualuga said it's a priority to prove to his teammates he can be trusted again. On the field, the 2009 second-round pick had a productive rookie season for the reigning AFC North champions, recording 63 tackles and one sack.
But the Jan. 29 incident where he crashed into two parked cars and a parking meter put a blemish on his fast start. He ended up with two years' probation, a revoked driver's license and could face some form of a suspension by the league this upcoming season.
Maualuga was expected to check into the Betty Ford Clinic in Rancho Mirage, Calif., but underwent treatment at a Charleston, S.C., facility instead while working to improve his left ankle that was fractured in December.
"I sought that help, and I got what I needed when I went in," Maualuga said. "It was definitely a life-changer for me."
Maualuga completed the program in time to make it to the first day of offseason workouts, where he said it's time to move forward. Maualuga said he's learned a lot about himself in the process and that it will eventually help him on and off the field entering his second season.
"This year is a different year and it's my year," Maualuga said. "I'm going to come out and give it everything I got."
James Walker covers the AFC North for ESPN.com.