Abraham: DWI Charge

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Several times a year, Jets coach Herman Edwards shows his

players newspaper clippings of NFL players who have run afoul of the law. As

the names, mug shots and charges grace the screen, Edwards says, "Don't let

this be you."

Defensive end John Abraham, a two-time Pro Bowl selection who Edwards

believes has Hall of Fame potential, let it be him.

Abraham, 25, was arrested shortly after 10 p.m. Wednesday and charged with

driving while intoxicated. He was driving a 2003 Hummer SUV on Grand Avenue in

Baldwin when it hit a fire hydrant and a light pole. There were no injuries in

the one-vehicle accident. Also in the SUV were a man, 31, and a woman, 22,

police said. Neither person is a member of the Jets' organization.

Officers smelled alcohol on Abraham's breath and gave him a field sobriety

test, which he failed, according to a Nassau County police source. The player

refused to take a Breathalyzer and was held overnight at the First Precinct in

Hempstead. He went straight to his arraignment yesterday morning and pleaded

not guilty, said his attorney, Brian Davis.

Abraham, said to be distraught, was met by nearly 40 reporters and a dozen

TV cameras at the court. "I apologize to my family, teammates, the coaching

staff and the entire New York Jets organization," he said in a statement

released by the team. "I am embarrassed ... and I will learn from this."

Edwards, who got emotional discussing the situation, sent Abraham home to

his mother, Maggie, in South Carolina. "I think that's where he should be at

this point," he said sternly.

Edwards would not divulge the disciplinary action he plans to take. Abraham

will practice next week, but Edwards refused to say whether he'll play Oct. 12

against Buffalo. "I know exactly what I'm going to do," he said. "I'm not

going to discuss that at this point."

DWI is a class A misdemeanor with a maximum sentence of a year in jail.

Abraham is likely to plead guilty to the lesser charge of driving while

impaired and receive probation, community service and a fine, said a person

with knowledge of the situation. He is due in court Tuesday for a pretrial

hearing.

By refusing the Breathalyzer, Abraham's driver's license was automatically

revoked for six months. His SUV was impounded and could be forfeited under

Nassau County law if he is convicted. He almost certainly will be entered in

the NFL's substance-abuse policy and could face a $20,000 fine, alcohol

counseling and random testing.

The incident was another blow to the 0-4 Jets, seeking to regroup during a

bye week.

"There's a certain standard you have to hold as a player, on and off the

field," Edwards said. "I think that's very, very important. Once that standard

is tarnished, you have to pay a price. And that's the way it should be."

Many of Abraham's teammates, including his best friend, Shaun Ellis,

declined to comment. "I don't know anything about what happened, but I'm very

concerned," Ray Mickens said. "He's part of the family, and you always stand

behind your family."

In 2001, Edwards fined free safety Damien Robinson one game check after he

was caught entering Giants Stadium's parking lot with an assault rifle and

ammunition. For Abraham, a game check would be $76,176.

Abraham, the 13th pick in the 2000 draft, had 13 sacks in 2001 and 10 last

year. He has 2 1/2 sacks this season. After Abraham had two sacks in Week 1,

Edwards challenged him to raise his play to a Hall of Fame level.

"What we have to do at this point is rally around John," Edwards said. "Not

as a player, but more than anything else, as a man. That's my responsibility.

I feel I failed in that way."

Zachary R. Dowdy contributed to this story.

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