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Brooks' arrest disappoints Cowher

By Mike Prisuta
Tuesday, Aug. 8, 2006
 

Steelers offensive tackle Barrett Brooks was back at St. Vincent College on Monday morning, practicing with his teammates and defending his reputation following a late-night motorcycle ride that landed him in the Allegheny County Jail early Sunday.

"I apologize to the Rooneys. The family is a great family, and they believe in not doing stuff like this," Brooks said. "But I really didn't do anything, and once things come to fruition we'll be all right.

"I was just riding a motorcycle, and that's the extent of it."

Steelers coach Bill Cowher repeatedly expressed disappointment in Brooks following yesterday afternoon's practice.

"I'm not going to go into detail, obviously, to let the judicial system work its process," Cowher said. "Internally, we discussed it. I was very disappointed in the judgment that he displayed on Saturday night, talked to the football team about it, and we'll leave it at that.

"I certainly don't condone the actions, and certainly there's a responsibility that goes with being a professional athlete and handling yourself properly. And Barrett used very poor judgment, and I was very disappointed in him."

Brooks was charged with fleeing and eluding, reckless driving, driving at an unsafe speed and stop sign violations. He was arrested at approximately 2:30 a.m. Sunday.

Brooks was not intoxicated and was not wearing a helmet, police said.

"It wasn't as it seemed, you know what I mean?" Brooks said. "But I'm here to play football, so I'm going to focus on that.

"You guys know me; 80 percent of the league knows me. I'm a down-to-earth guy. I would never put myself in a situation to do something like this, but it just so happens that this happened. It was a total miscommunication. It just wasn't the way it seemed. All the stuff that's been said was totally misinterpreted."

Brooks, 34, is preparing for his 12th NFL season and fourth with the Steelers. He appeared in all 20 regular-season and postseason games last season on special teams, and he was occasionally employed as a reserve tackle or guard.

According to Pittsburgh police Sgt. Dennis Washington, Brooks illegally passed a moving police car on the right side while driving his Yamaha motorcycle on the 1700 block of East Carson Street.

The police officer then activated his car's lights and siren and chased Brooks for several blocks, Washington said.

Brooks ran a couple of stop signs before losing control of his bike while trying to make a turn at 12th and Muriel streets, Washington said.

"He got up and attempted to get back on the bike and ride way, but the officer physically tackled him back down off the bike," Washington said. "I think (Brooks) was just worried about losing his job."

Brooks scoffed at the suggestion he'd been tackled off his bike.

"C'mon now, that's what I do for a living, you know what I'm saying?" he said.

Brooks declined to discuss more specifics regarding the incident, other than to say of the police car, "I didn't see him.

"Once everything's over I'll say something, but everything's under litigation right now, so there's really nothing to say. I'm here to play football.

"You'll see, you'll definitely see. I'm telling you guys it was totally blown out of proportion. Once you guys see, once everything comes out, you'll understand."

Brooks regretted how his involvement in the incident might reflect upon the Steelers.

"I reached out to everybody on the team, my teammates, coaches and everybody else, explained the situation (and) apologized for any negative attention brought to them," Brooks said.

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