Thursday, February 11, 2010

Bengals' Rey Maualuga Looks to Turn Life Around

ESPN's Adam Schefter has reported that Cincinnati Bengals linebacker Rey Maualuga will enter the Betty Ford Center in Rancho Mirage, California for at least 30 days once he returns from his trip to Samoa. He is traveling with teammates Domata Peko and Jonathan Fanene to visit areas that are still struggling after last year’s tsunami. Maualuga is expected to finish the treatment in time before the team begins their offseason conditioning program on March 29.

Last week, Maualuga pleaded guilty to DUI charges after he was arrested in northern Kentucky January 29 after he hit a parking meter and two parked cars. The former USC linebacker had a blood alcohol level of .157 after police reports indicated he had drank six Captain Morgan and Coca Colas. He received a suspended seven-day jail sentence and two years' probation along with a 90-day suspension of his driver's license.

While the actions of Maualuga will hurt the reputation of the Bengals as a team trying to lose their image as a team filled with players who constantly get in trouble with the law, there is a positive to the recent incident.

As an individual, Maualuga has realized the mistake he made and is taking the right approach to prevent it from happening again. There is so much potential for him after he played such a key role in Cincinnati’s defense this season and the Bengals should be happy he’s willing to turn his life around.

Between his jail sentence and time at the alcohol treatment center, Maualuga should be a different person by the time Cincinnati begins their offseason conditioning program at the end of March. If anything, this incident may have been a blessing in disguise if he can learn from it all and become not only a better person, but player.

The Bengals selected Maualuga with the 38th pick in last year’s draft. His season was cut short after suffering a fractured ankle in Week 16 against the Kansas City Chiefs and was a major reason behind the success of Cincinnati’s run defense. He started 15 games and finished his rookie season with 63 tackles, one sack, and three forced fumbles.

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