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updated: 9/19/2012 3:11 PM

Falcons' Turner apologizes for DUI arrest

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  • Atlanta Falcons running back Michael Turner was arrested for drunken driving and speeding in metro Atlanta just hours after he scored a touchdown in the team's Monday night win over the Denver Broncos.

      Atlanta Falcons running back Michael Turner was arrested for drunken driving and speeding in metro Atlanta just hours after he scored a touchdown in the team's Monday night win over the Denver Broncos.
    Associated Press/Gwinett County Sheriff's De

 
By Paul Newberry
AP Sports Writer

FLOWERY BRANCH, Ga. -- Atlanta Falcons running back Michael Turner apologized Wednesday to the team for his drunken driving arrest, saying he made "a bad decision" and was prepared to deal with the consequences.

Turner was pulled over by police in suburban Gwinnett County around 5 a.m. Tuesday -- just hours after scoring a touchdown in Atlanta's 27-21 win over Denver. Police say he was clocked doing 97 mph in a 65-mph zone and booked him into jail on a DUI charge after a field sobriety test.

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"I shouldn't have been in this situation to begin with," Turner said, meeting with reporters outside the locker room at the Falcons' suburban training complex. "I've got to learn from it."

He expects to play Sunday when Atlanta travels to San Diego to face the Chargers, his former team.

"Nobody has told me I'm not playing, so I'm going to prepare like I am," Turner said.

The arrest came after a slow start to the season for the 30-year-old Turner, who has rushed for more than 1,300 yards in three of his four seasons with the Falcons. The only exception was 2009, when he was limited to 11 games because of injuries.

This season, Turner has rushed for just 74 yards in the first two games, averaging a paltry 2.6 yards per carry while struggling to find holes and break tackles. Against the Broncos, he had just 27 yards on 16 carries until breaking off a 15-yard gain with his final run of the night.

Despite the lack of a power running game, which has been their trademark under coach Mike Smith, the Falcons (2-0) are off to a strong start heading into the game against the Chargers (2-0).

"I just want to go out there and play hard," Turner said. "Play hard for my teammates and do whatever I can to help this team win."

A police report released Wednesday said Turner told the officer he had been at Magic City, a strip club near the Georgia Dome. After initially denying he drank any alcohol after the game, he conceded that he had several shots of liquor but "did not keep count."

"I pointed out the fact to him that I could still smell the strong odor of an alcoholic beverage coming from his breath," the officer wrote in the report. "He stated he had a couple shots while at Magic City in Atlanta. He stated he had consumed the alcohol around 3 a.m. due to getting there late. He was able to say he has less than 10 shot(s), but approximately 5 shots. I asked him if the shots were normal size and he stated they were in cups, not shot glasses."

The officer said Turner was cooperative during the arrest and appeared to be walking and speaking normally. But, the report said, he "exhibited slightly bloodshot, watery, glazed eyes." He submitted to a portable breath test, which produced a reading of .109 -- above the legal limit of .08 to be considered legally drunk.

After being transported to the county jail, Turner declined to take an intoxilyzer test, which provides a more accurate reading.

The Falcons have avoided major off-the-field problems under Smith and general manager Thomas Dimitroff, a point of emphasis after Michael Vick went to prison for funding a dogfighting operation.

"First and foremost, any time a player sheds negatively on our football team and on our organization, we are very disappointed," Smith said Tuesday.

Turner declined to speak specifically on his case, but made it clear he will do whatever it takes to get back in good graces.

"I don't think anybody is more disappointed than I am in myself," he said. "I've just got to man up."

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