Austin Seferian-Jenkins: ‘I wish I could take it back, but I can’t’
Huskies tight end, in his first interview since his drunken-driving incident in March, says he has learned his lesson and knows he’s “lucky” to be on the field with his UW teammates.
Seattle Times staff reporter
Timeline of events
March 9: Austin Seferian-Jenkins is cited for drunken driving after a car was pulled over in the University District. He registers a blood-alcohol level of .18 percent, above the state’s legal limit of .08 percent.
March 12: Seferian-Jenkins gets suspended indefinitely pending an investigation into his arrest. The team says his status would be evaluated again after the investigation.
April 9: Seferian-Jenkins charged with a misdemeanor DUI by the Seattle City’s Attorney office. The tight end remains indefinitely suspended.
July 15: Seferian-Jenkins pleads guilty to a drunken driving charge in Seattle Municipal Court. He was sentenced to 364 days in jail, 363 of which were suspended. He serves his day in jail shortly thereafter. He resumes informal workouts with teammates during the summer.
July 26: During Pac-12 football media day, coach Steve Sarkisian announces Seferian-Jenkins will rejoin the team for the start of fall camp on Aug. 5. But he does not rule out the possibility of a suspension.
On the field, nothing has changed. And, Austin Seferian-Jenkins promised, nothing will change for him there.
“I’m going to do what I always do: play hard, play fast, play the Husky way,” Washington’s star tight end said Tuesday.
It’s off the field where Seferian-Jenkins promised he’s making changes.
After pleading guilty to a drunken-driving charge last month and serving a night in jail, Seferian-Jenkins said he has learned his lesson and knows he’s “lucky” to be on the field again with his UW teammates.
“It’s still a process,” Seferian-Jenkins said in his first media interview since crashing his car in the Ravenna area in March. “Nothing’s healed just like that. It happened in March and there’s obviously people that are still hurt by it. It’s a very serious offense and I take it very seriously because that’s not the type of person I am at all.
“There’s still a lot of work to be done; I’m working hard, I’m doing everything I can to be a great teammate, brother, son and person and human being, and I’m trying to grow every day.”
Seferian-Jenkins said “the worst part” of the incident for him was letting down his teammates.
“I wish I could take it back, but I can’t,” he said.
“It was an extremely, extremely terrible situation — a terrible situation I put myself, the university, I put teammates and I put myself and family in,” he added. “Since then, I obviously apologized to my team the next day and I’ve apologized to my team in many other ways, and I’ve done a lot of different things to get their respect back.”
When asked, he wouldn’t specify what he’s done to try to earn back teammates’ respect, but said, “I’ve done everything that’s been asked of me.”
The 6-foot-6, 276-pound junior, a projected first-round NFL draft pick, was suspended from team activities after his March arrest, but he has practiced with the first-team offense during the first two days of fall camp this week.
“When you lose things like football, which is the game I love — and this is the most important thing in my life — it really puts everything in perspective,” he said. “You take things for granted sometimes, and I think I might’ve done that. Getting back out here, being with your guys, it’s a really special thing. And you don’t realize how special something is until you’re gone, so this has been a huge growth opportunity for me, and hopefully the team.”
Asked if he believes he will play in UW’s season opener against Boise State on Aug. 31, Seferian-Jenkins said, “I expect to play at practice tomorrow.”
Fun with Feeney
After sitting out spring practices with a shoulder injury, sophomore outside linebacker Travis Feeney admitted he was “a little too excited” to return to the field Monday during UW’s first practice of fall camp.
“I had to slow down a little bit,” he said after practice Tuesday. “Way better today.”
It wasn’t a slow dance Feeney was doing late in practice as he celebrated an interception of quarterback Keith Price. It was a wild and wiggly body shake.
“I’ve been waiting to do that on Keith — just one time,” Feeney said, laughing.
As a redshirt freshman, Feeney was tied for third on the team with 76 tackles last season, his first as a starter. The starting linebackers return intact — with John Timu in the middle and Shaq Thompson opposite Feeney — and many expect that unit to be among the best in the Pac-12.
“It’s great,” Feeney said. “Us three, and all the ’backers, we’re real tight. … We know we got each others’ back. We don’t have to worry about someone making a tackle or messing up, because we know we’ll back them up.”
Feeney said his surgically-repaired shoulder feels “great.”
“Everything’s been cleared and we’re good to go,” he said.
• UW coach Steve Sarkisian said Tuesday he was again impressed by freshmen receivers John Ross (5-foot-11, 173 pounds), Damore’ea Stringfellow (6-3, 225) and Darrell Daniels (6-4, 232).
• Offensive lineman Erik Kohler (foot) was not suited up for the second straight day. Fellow lineman Shane Brostek wore a boot over his right foot and did not practice, and receiver Jaydon Mickens sat out the second half of practice with what appeared to be a minor shoulder injury.
• The Huskies will practice in shoulder pads for the first time Wednesday. Per NCAA rules, they will be allowed to don full pads on Friday.
Adam Jude: 206-464-2364 or firstname.lastname@example.org. On Twitter: @a_jude.