FB Jerome Felton apologizes for his DWI and for bringing negative attention to the Vikings.
By BRIAN HALLFS North
EDEN PRAIRIE, Minn. — Following his weekend arrest for a DWI, Minnesota Vikings fullback Jerome Felton took part in the organized team activities this week and expressed his apologies for adding to the team's recent string of run-ins with law enforcement.
Felton, 25, was arrested and jailed early Saturday morning for second-degree DWI. He refused to submit to a chemical test and was charged with the gross misdemeanor. Felton, who was released later in the day on $12,000 bail, was reportedly waiting at the drive-thru lane at a McDonald's in Eden Prairie when he was given field sobriety tests and taken into custody.
"I just want to sincerely apologize to the fans, No. 1, organization and everyone around the Vikings," Felton said Wednesday. "I'll handle everything that comes my way, the consequences of whatever happens. I'll move forward and be positive from here on out. I can assure the organization and fans of that."
Felton was signed to a one-year, $700,000 contract by Minnesota in March and has a chance to win the Vikings' fullback job. He would fill a void as a lead blocker in the wake of Jim Kleinsasser's retirement. Felton split 2011 between the Carolina Panthers and Indianapolis Colts, playing 14 games with three carries and four catches.
Felton, a fifth-round pick by the Detroit Lions in 2008, was eager to address the incident with the team.
"That's the first thing I did was talk with (coach Leslie) Frazier and try to contact everybody within the organization, let them know I apologize for being in one of those types of situations and shed negative light on this team," Felton said. "Everybody is trying to be positive, and the team's doing a great job of that, and I definitely don't want to be the person that has a negative influence."
Felton is scheduled to appear at 8:15 a.m. CT on July 18 at the Ridgedale court in Minnetonka, Minn. He noted the services provided by the league and team for such instances and regrets not making the call. The Vikings have a hotline players can call to receive courtesy rides and are advised to use the service instead of putting themselves in bad situations.
"There were some personal discussions, but just about making good decisions, not putting yourself in any type of situation to where negative things can happen, and just being smart when it comes to that," Felton said of the message he received from coaches. "The Vikings do a great job of educating us and putting programs in place to keep us out of situations. I've got to be smart. We've got to be smart as a team to take advantage of all those sources."
On two separate occasions last year, Vikings were arrested on DWI charges. Quarterback Rhett Bomar was charged during training camp and released later after not making the team. Safety Tyrell Johnson had his DWI during the season and returned to play. Johnson signed with the Miami Dolphins as a free agent this offseason.
Minnesota also released backup running back Caleb King earlier this offseason after he was charged with assault.
"You're always looking at the people you're trying to sign," Frazier said. "That's probably the No.1 thing you take a look at. We'll always try to see what we're doing and how we're doing it, and try to make it better both on and off the football field.
"I also know, when you're dealing with young men at this age there's a possibility of this happening. It wouldn't surprise me. ... You hope it doesn't happen, but you always have to be aware that there's a possibility it could happen."