EAGAN - Minnesota Vikings safety Jayron Kearse issued a public apology at TCO Performance Center Monday after being arrested over the weekend on suspicion of drunk driving and carrying a firearm without a permit.
Kearse and the rest of the Vikings had the weekend off after beating the Washington Redskins 19-9 Thursday night at U.S. Bank Stadium to improve to 6-2.
According to the State Patrol, Kearse, 25, drove onto a closed section of Interstate 94 near Cedar Avenue in Minneapolis that was shut down due to overnight construction. He was spotted going around a barricade and pulling onto I-94.
Kearse was pulled over by the State Patrol shortly after, and appeared to be intoxicated as he was speaking with authorities. A test showed he had a blood alcohol level of .10, over the .08 legal limit for driving in Minnesota.
“First and foremost I would like to apologize publicly to the team, to the fans, for my actions over this past weekend. It’s not a reflection of who I am as a person, or what this organization stands for. The team and these fans deserve better. I definitely take this matter very seriously and I’m sorry for putting anybody in harm’s way. I’ll go through all the necessary steps to improve myself,” Kearse said Monday.
As he was being taken into custody on suspicion of drunk driving, authorities say they found a loaded gun in the vehicle.
He said he “made a bad decision” and is “shaken up” about it.
“I mean personally, obviously I’m shaken up after something like this comes out and you know it’s not exactly who you are. Obviously I’m shaken up about it, but I got my teammates and everybody behind me, the support from them is big,” Kearse said.
Defensive lineman Shamar Stephen declined comment on Kearse’s situation, but said the team is there to offer their support to him.
“I’m just going to support Jayron as my teammate and let everything else handle itself,” Stephen said.
Kearse is in his fourth season with the Vikings and has played in all eight games this season. He has 16 tackles on the season, including eight tackles and a pass break-up in Minnesota’s season-opening win over the Atlanta Falcons.
Kearse said Monday he has yet to talk with coach Mike Zimmer since the arrest, and hasn’t yet heard from the NFL. He could be subject to a fine and/or suspension from the league.
The Vikings hit the road to face the Kansas City Chiefs on Sunday with a four-game win streak. Kearse does not yet know if he’ll play.
“I’d rather not speak on that. That’s not really my decision, that’s the coach’s decision and whatever the decision is, I’m going to live with it but I’ve got to suffer the consequences,” Kearse said.