TV Report: Mack drove

BY GEOFF HOBSON

The agent for Bengals Pro Bowl kick returner Tremain Mack said Wednesday night his client is clean of alcohol since his last DUI conviction two years ago in Hamilton County.

But Mack could still go to jail after a Cincinnati television station showed video of Mack driving in and out of a Paul Brown Stadium parking lot a handful of times this season.

Under terms of probation stemming from local DUI arrests in 1997 and 1998, Mack's license is suspended. Indications are if Mack is returned to jail, the incident must first be investigated by a probation officer, followed by a probation hearing.

After WLWT-Channel 5 showed the video during Wednesday night's broadcast, Mack agent David Levine had no comment.

"It has nothing to do with alcohol," Levine said. "Tremain has been tested anywhere from 10 to 20 times per month for drug or alcohol for the past two years and has passed," Levine said. "He's become an advocate against drunk driving. He's counseled individuals who drink and drive and has talked to several groups about what not to do."

Mack, who turns 26 next week, came to Cincinnati in the fourth round of the 1997 NFL Draft with a history of alcohol-related offenses in his hometown of Tyler, Texas and during his college days at the University of Miami.

Alcohol knocked him out of the first round and his three DUIs since becoming a Bengal has cost him eight NFL game checks, as well as a five-month jail term in Clermont and Hamilton counties following his last arrest in October of 1998.

The last arrest also earned him a four-game suspension from NFL commissioner Paul Tagliabue opening the '99 season.

But Mack wrote a Hollywood script in coming off the bench in Game 5 to string together a 27-yard kick return average for the remainder of the season.

Mack became the first Bengal to lead the AFC in kick returns and the club's first Pro Bowl specialist before recently signing a contract extension.

Mack, hobbled by sore ankle since training camp, is currently 10th in the AFC with a 23-yard average on 30 returns. He also recently spoke to a group from the Cincinnati Boys and Girls Club about his struggles.

During the spring, he was the keynote speaker at the "I'm Free For The Weekend," event sponsored by The Youth Connection and the National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence in Detroit.

"The Bengals make an active effort to counsel our players regarding

their personal lives, primarily through the office of Eric Ball, our director

of player relations," the club said in a statement released by public relations director Jack Brennan.

"But players' off-field activities are ultimately their own affair, and

any issue involving Tremain Mack and his probation is between Tremain and the

court. We will not prejudge or comment further on the matter at this time.''

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