Jayron Kearse returned to the Minnesota Vikings on Monday following his weekend arrest on suspicion of driving while impaired and with a loaded gun and apologized to the team and fans.
Kearse, 25, was stopped by a Minnesota State Patrol trooper in Minnesota just before 4 a.m. Sunday. The patrol said it noticed a Mercedes drive around a barricade onto a closed portion of Interstate 94 and ”observed signs of alcohol impairment.”
The patrol said Kearse had a blood alcohol level of 0.10 percent, above Minnesota’s legal limit of 0.08 percent, and a loaded firearm in the car. The Vikings were off Sunday after playing Thursday night at home, a 19-9 win against the Washington Redskins.
”First and foremost, I would like apologize to the team to the fans for actions over this past weekend,” Kearse said. ”It’s not a reflection of who I am as a person or what this organization stands for. The team and these fans deserve better. I definitely take this matter seriously, and I’m sorry for putting anybody in harm’s way and I will go through all the necessary steps to improve myself.”
Kearse said conversations he had with team leadership were ”pretty good” but that he hadn’t spoken with coach Mike Zimmer.
A fourth-year safety and special teams captain, Kearse has 11 solo tackles this season. After seeing time on defense the first six games, he has played only on special teams the past two games.
”When that was given to me, it was a lot put on my shoulders and obviously so far I haven’t handled it well with this decision,” Kearse said of being a captain. ”Having guys just coming into this league and they see me being a captain, so they expect a certain level of things from me and I didn’t show that.”
Kearse was booked into jail on suspicion of DWI and carrying a firearm without a permit. He was released later Sunday after posting $6,000 bond.
While Minnesota deals with the legal ramifications with one defensive back, second-year cornerback Holton Hill will return to practice this week after his suspension ended.
Hill was suspended this summer for four games for violating the league’s policy on performance-enhancing substances. Three months later, he received an additional four-game suspension for violation of the league’s substance abuse policy.
”It was a big thing for me, that my teammates and coaches and everybody had my back throughout everything,” Hill said Monday. ”It motivated me to go hard and work off the field, mentally and physically, and come back ready to go to work with them.”
Hill played in 16 games, starting three, as an undrafted rookie out of Texas last year. He had 36 tackles and one interception. Hill, who participated in training camp and the preseason, stayed in Minnesota during the suspension. He was cleared to return to the team’s facilities following the first suspension.
”I’m taking strides to earn everyone’s trust back, not just Coach Zim,” Hill said. ”He’s talked to me. I’m ready to get to it.”
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