McAlister arrested, charged with DUI

THE BALTIMORE SUN

Chris McAlister was arrested and charged with driving under the influence early Monday morning in Virginia, a police spokesman said yesterday.

The Ravens' starting cornerback was pulled over for speeding and was charged with DUI at 2:36 a.m. Monday in Fairfax County, Va., according to Virginia state police.

McAlister was stopped on Interstate 95 after a patrolman clocked his car going 86 mph in a 55 zone, police said. He was arrested after the officer smelled alcohol on McAlister's breath and gave him a field sobriety test, the spokesman said. McAlister refused to take a Breathalyzer test, which measures blood alcohol level.

McAlister, 26, was held at a Virginia detention center and missed Monday's practice. After returning to the Ravens' training camp later that day, he met with coach Brian Billick and general manager Ozzie Newsome and suited up for yesterday's final workout at McDaniel College.

"The case is still wide-open," McAlister said. "There's no evidence pointing one way or the other."

It is believed McAlister will not miss any games as a result of the arrest.

If McAlister were convicted, it would trigger an evaluation that could place him in the NFL's substance abuse program, which requires players to undergo treatment and regular drug testing.

Once a player is in the program, he can be suspended for four games for a second offense. A third offense would bring a one-year suspension.

"This is disappointing news," Ravens owner Art Modell said. "Driving under the influence is a serious matter, and we will address this privately with Chris. Under the collective bargaining agreement, Chris has certain rights, and we support those rights."

A Ravens first-round pick in 1999, McAlister is considered one of the top cover corners in the league.

Last season, he led the Ravens with 24 passes broken up and finished tied for ninth with 67 tackles. His biggest highlight occurred when he returned a missed field goal 107 yards for a touchdown, the longest play in NFL history.

The arrest comes at a time when McAlister is trying to build his reputation. After recently signing a one-year contract worth $5.9 million as the Ravens' franchise player, he could be an unrestricted free agent in six months. .

"That's something that I have to deal with or worry about when it comes time for that," McAlister said. "Right now, I'm not even thinking about what can happen as far as my career."

Three years ago, McAlister was arrested on a charge of misdemeanor possession of marijuana. Charges were later dropped for insufficient evidence.

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