|Ravens QB on DUI charge: What happens in Tenn. stays in Tenn.|
|Written by Admin|
|Thursday, 17 May 2007 10:25|
The three-time Pro Bowl passer appeared to be in good shape and threw crisp passes Thursday during the Ravens' voluntary minicamp.
McNair was arrested May 9 in Nashville, Tenn., on a misdemeanor offense often referred to as DUI by consent. It's a Tennessee ordinance that prohibits a vehicle owner from knowingly allowing someone who is intoxicated to drive his car.
``What happened in Tennessee is left in Tennessee,'' McNair said. ``My lawyer is going to deal with that. Right now, my main focus is coming out here, getting chemistry and getting the things I need to get done in preparation for training camp.''
McNair was a passenger when his brother-in-law, Jamie Cartwright, was driving the quarterback's 2003 Dodge silver pickup truck and was charged with DUI.
``We're going to let the legal process handle it,'' said McNair, who has a pretrial settlement conference scheduled for May 30. ``It's unfortunate, but things happen. I just got to go through it. But at the same time, it's not going to distract me from helping this team get to where we need to be.''
Cartwright had a strong ``odor of alcohol'' with ``red, glassy eyes,'' failed a field sobriety test and refused to take a breathalyzer exam, law enforcement officials said.
``It's a totally derivative case because Mr. McNair was arrested on the actions of another party, and he's sort of a victim of a unique law,'' said Nashville attorney Roger May, who represented McNair in a 2003 DUI case that was dropped. ``It's a strange law and he wasn't doing anything wrong, and it wasn't anything he did or failed to do. It has nothing to do with his actions. It's all about the alleged intoxication of the driver.''
The 31-year-old Cartwright acknowledged that he had least two beers, a police report said.
May, who doesn't represent McNair or Cartwright, emphasized that McNair's case could be affected by the outcome of his brother-in-law's trial. The law doesn't consider whether McNair was drinking, centering only on if the driver was impaired.
``I believe that if Mr. Cartwright's case is resolved favorably, then there's a good chance that Mr. McNair's case could just be dismissed,'' May said.
McNair said he was happy to practice with the Ravens much earlier than last year when he was acquired in a June trade from the Tennessee Titans for a fourth-round draft pick. This week was also his first opportunity to work with newly acquired running back Willis McGahee.
``It was good for me because of the situation I was in last year where I was cramming everything in,'' said McNair, who drew compliments from Ravens coach Brian Billick for his conditioning and accuracy. ``To be here and get the chemistry down with your receivers and getting the knowledge of the offense down is going to be a plus for me. This is how you get better.''
McNair said he's motivated by the way last season ended for the AFC North champion Ravens - a 15-6 AFC divisional playoff loss to the Indianapolis Colts in which he threw two key interceptions.
``It's bitter for me because of the outcome,'' McNair said. ``I look back at the film and evaluate myself and I didn't do enough making plays as a quarterback, as the leader of this team, to go out and beat the Indianapolis Colts.''
Notes: The Ravens signed undrafted free agent quarterback Cullen Finnerty (Grand Valley State) and safety Bobby Blackshire (Tulsa). ... Among the veterans not attending the voluntary practice sessions: linebackers Ray Lewis and Terrell Suggs, offensive tackle Jonathan Ogden, center Mike Flynn, safety Ed Reed, cornerbacks Chris McAlister and Samari Rolle, defensive end Trevor Pryce, running back Mike Anderson and nose guard Kelly Gregg.