Pittsburgh Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin announced that rookie defensive tackle Alameda Ta'amu has been suspended for two weeks without pay, the first wave of punishment the fourth-round pick from the University of Washington will receive after leading Pittsburgh police on an alcohol-fueled chase early Sunday morning.
"Due to his actions this past weekend we are going to be suspending him for two weeks," Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin said. "This suspension is without pay. He will not participate in any organized team activities, he won't be in meetings, he won't be on the practice field and obviously he won't be at our facility."
As the 109th overall pick in the 2012 NFL draft, Ta'amu signed a four-year deal worth $2.565 million that included a signing bonus of $433,312 and a 2012 base salary of $390,000. Under the terms of his suspension, Ta'amu, who has yet to crack the Steelers' 46-man game day roster, will lose two paychecks totaling $45,882.
Ta'amu's road adventure began at 2:30 a.m. ET on Sunday morning when he was observed driving the wrong way down a South Side street. After ignoring several orders from law enforcement to pull over, Ta'amu reportedly steered his 2006 Lincoln Navigator in the direction of police officers, who had drawn their weapons, but did not fire. Ta'amu slammed into several parked vehicles, at least one of which was occupied, before disabling his own vehicle and attempting to flee.
According to the police report, Ta'amu registered a blood-alcohol level of .196 percent, more than twice Pennsylvania's legal limit.
"We deem his actions a detriment to our efforts and we are treating it as such," said Tomlin. "The other ramifications and so forth of this situation that I am not at liberty to discuss at this time, but we thought it was very important that we act and act quickly in terms of addressing this and we can focus our efforts on the men that are playing and getting ready to meet this week's challenge.
"Obviously it's a disturbing incident, one that we take seriously as members of this community and the organization which we are."