Football star pleads guilty
to drunken driving

Jason Gesser says he takes
responsibility for his actions
last year

Former Saint Louis School star and NFL quarterback Jason Gesser was ordered to pay a $150 fine yesterday and had his driver's license suspended for 90 days for driving under the influence of alcohol.

The Hawaii-born Gesser, 25, who made his mark as a Washington State University quarterback, entered his guilty plea to the misdemeanor charge before District Judge William Caldwell. The judge lauded him for taking responsibility for his actions.

Gesser, in a dark blue suit, apologized to the court, saying he recognized what he did was wrong, was taking responsibility and has been paying for his actions since.

Under an agreement, Deputy Prosecutor Scotty Hu said the state was dropping a running-a-red-light violation that resulted in Gesser's arrest on Feb. 15, 2004. His blood-alcohol level was at 0.139 percent. The legal limit is 0.08 percent.

As part of the sentence for a first-time offender, Gesser must also undergo an alcohol assessment and, if required, attend a 14-day alcohol treatment program.

Gesser was cut by the NFL Tennessee Titans last fall but is signing with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers to play in the NFL Europe League, his attorney Paul Cunney said.

Gesser is remorseful and took responsibility by pleading guilty because he wants to get on with his life, Cunney said.

But he took steps even before yesterday to resolve the matter, according to Cunney. Two days after his arrest, Gesser voluntarily entered a substance abuse program run by the NFL and was found to be in compliance in December, Cunney said. His life also has changed since he got married in March and now has a child.

The conviction will remain on his record for at least 10 years, Cunney said.

The driving suspension prohibits Gesser from driving for 30 days but allows him during the remaining 60 days to drive only to and from work and to attend substance abuse treatment.

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