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Steelers Steelers' Burress arrested for public intoxication in Virginia

Wednesday, May 15, 2002

By Ed Bouchette, Post-Gazette Sports Writer

Correction/Clarification (Published May 18, 2002): In this May 15, 2002 story about the arrest of Steelers wide receiver Plaxico Burress for public intoxication in Virginia Beach, Va., we misspelled the last name of Richard Klepach, the policeman who made the arrest.

Steelers wide receiver Plaxico Burress was arrested early Saturday on a charge of public intoxication in Virginia Beach, Va.

A court hearing is scheduled for June 5. Even if he is not convicted, Burress faces possible discipline and/or mandatory alcohol and drug testing by Commissioner Paul Tagliabue under the NFL's Personal Conduct Policy, according to a league spokesperson.

Steelers spokesman Ron Wahl said team officials are aware of the situation but have declined comment until they receive more information.

His brother, Carlos Burress, was arrested at the same time on a felony charge of assault and battery on a police officer.

He is accused of shoving and elbowing Richard Klepach and cutting the officer's lip when he tried to arrest Plaxico Burress, according to the complaint.

The arrests were made at 2:20 a.m. after the two had been asked to leave several bars and restaurants in their hometown of Virginia Beach, according to the arresting officer.

Carlos and Plaxico Burress were released on their own recognizance. Carlos has a hearing tomorrow in criminal court in Virginia Beach.

Klepach, who walks a beat in the resort area, told the Post-Gazette yesterday that the Burress "entourage was warned numerous times about profanity and picking fights" in an area of town near the beach that contains many bars and pizza shops.

"They were kicked out of numerous establishments," Klepach said. "I followed them for about three blocks."

It was then he decided to arrest Plaxico Burress, and his brother assaulted the officer, police said. Plaxico Burress did not resist. "He said he had too much to lose," Klepach said.

It was the second time Burress has been charged on an alcohol-related offense in the past five months.

He paid a fine after he was issued a citation for carrying an open bottle of Corona beer in the Flats section of Cleveland at 1:45 a.m. Dec. 24.

Tagliabue has broad powers to discipline a player convicted of or admitting to a crime, even if he pleads to a lesser offense or is accepted into a diversionary program.

"Such discipline may include a fine, suspension without pay and/or banishment from the league," according to the policy. Burress likely would receive no more than a fine because the offense is a misdemeanor.

Burress grew up in Virginia Beach. Adelaide V. Burress, his 49-year-old mother, died there March 22.

Burress is considered a rising NFL star and a vital part of the Steelers' offense after he led the team with 1,008 yards and six touchdowns receiving last season on 66 receptions.

He and Hines Ward, who caught 94 passes for 1,003 yards, became the first two players in team history to top 1,000 yards receiving in the same season and set a Steelers record for a duo with 160 combined receptions.

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