Defensive tackle Alameda Ta'amu of the Pittsburgh Steelers received his sentencing today, for the multitude of charges he plead guilty to stemming from a reckless, but not wreck-less, alcohol-fueled arrest resistance in October of 2012.
Per the court's ruling, Ta'amu will serve the next 18 months under probation; and he will serve four days in a DUI-related program which is intended as a jail-alternative. His stay will include highway safety courses and group behavioral therapy. He must also pay the nearly $11,000 in damages he caused during the incident, and give 150 hours to community service.
Ever since the initial incident took place, the young Ta'amu has acknowledged his error in judgment. The team did release him a couple weeks after his arrest, although the roster move had more to do with the accommodation of healthy bodies to counteract the injury list. He was re-signed to the practice squad after he cleared waivers, and returned to the active roster by season's end.
Ta'amu's incident started in the city's south side, where an intoxicated Ta'amu crashed into several other cars after a soggy evening on the town. He admitted as much then, and repeated his acceptance at the sentencing hearing.
''I was a rookie and I was scared. I was a Steeler and I was drunk driving. I wrecked my car and I panicked."
He insisted he didn't realize the car which chased him following the incident was the police, but rather an angry motorist upset over the damage he had just done. Evidently by the lack of hard jail-time, the judge believed Ta'amu. Although, the judge did not hesitate to remind him the court's decision had nothing to do with his employment with the Steelers.
Ta'amu has earned any perceived leniency by following through on his promises to his team-mates and his family. He vowed to avoid alcohol, and based on the results of his regular screenings by the NFL's substance abuse program, he has.
With little hope remaining for the team to re-sign veteran Casey Hampton and Steve McLendon still having not signed his restricted free-agency tender, there is a definite opening with chance for promotion at defensive tackle. Ta'amu's only other competition currently on the roster is Hebron Fangupo who signed with the Steelers at the end of last season.
If Ta'amu can turn his resolve towards bettering his life and learning from experience toward the football side of life, he could earn a bit of favor from the coaches and front office and become a face of the future of the franchise.