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
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
"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.