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Originally published Friday, July 18, 2008 at 12:00 AM

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Seahawks' Lofa Tatupu says he learned from DUI arrest

Seahawks linebacker Lofa Tatupu admitted Friday in an interview on KJR-AM radio that he has been haunted by his DUI arrest, but believes he is a "better person for it."

Seattle Times staff reporter

Seahawks linebacker Lofa Tatupu said Friday in a radio interview that his decision to drink and drive, which led to his arrest and sentencing to a day in jail, has been haunting him.

He acknowledged his mistake and thanked the organization for helping him get through the aftermath of his May 10 arrest.

"We are role models and that's something I pride myself on," Tatupu said in an interview Friday afternoon with Dave Mahler on KJR-AM radio. "I really wouldn't have been able to live with myself if someone had been hurt."

Tatupu, a three-time Pro Bowl player and team captain, said team executives were not happy to hear about his DUI arrest, but stood by him. He promised it wouldn't happen again.

"It's something I'll never forget. It sticks with you," Tatupu said. "You just remember it and use better judgment. I'm definitely a better person for it, so some positive has come from it."

Tatupu, 25, pleaded guilty July 7 to DUI and was sentenced to one day in jail and ordered to pay fines and court costs totaling $1,255.

The Seahawks open training camp Thursday.

Tatupu will be a guest referee of a flag-football game on behalf of Big Brothers Big Sisters of Puget Sound tomorrow at Franklin High School. The game will feature as many as 50 mentors and children that are part of the program.

"We are thrilled to have Lofa involved with Big Brothers Big Sisters," said Tina Podlodowski, Big Brothers Big Sisters of Puget Sound president and CEO, in a statement from the organization. "The experience he brings is such an inspiration, and the kids will be so excited to have the opportunity to be on the field with him. His appearance will leave a lasting impression with attending Bigs and Littles who will be on the field playing in the games."

Copyright © 2008 The Seattle Times Company

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