While Denver Broncos running back Willis McGahee was getting (almost) naked for a Go Daddy commercial spoof, Knowshon Moreno, the baller he pretty much displaced, saw his year go from bad to worse.
Moreno is facing four counts, including driving under the influence, after being pulled over for speeding through a construction zone in a car bearing a vanity license plate reading "SAUCED."
According to Lynn Kimbrough, spokeswoman for the Denver District Attorney's Office, Moreno was driving southbound on I-25 between Quincy and Union in a 2007 silver Bentley convertible at around 1:15 a.m. on February 1. He allegedly blew through a clearly marked 45 miles-per-hour construction zone at around 65-70 mph.
As for the message sent by that "SAUCED" plate, our friends at the Urban Dictionary offer up a slew of definitions. Several list the term as a synonym for "owned" or "dominated" -- definitely a meaning that might appeal to a professional athlete. But by far the most frequent references -- easily outdistancing usages pertaining to being ejaculated upon -- have to do with being roaring drunk.
After being pulled over, Kimbrough continues, the officer in question noticed the odor of an alcoholic beverage and asked Moreno to perform some roadside tests. He did them poorly enough to be arrested for DUI and DUI per se -- Kimbrough says the latter "indicates perhaps a higher level of intoxication than DUI." In addition to these two misdemeanors, he was also cited for careless driving and driving without proof of insurance.
There's no mug shot of Moreno, since he was processed at a detox facility rather than the city jail. Under Colorado law, he was given a choice between taking a Breathalyzer test or a blood test, and Moreno chose the latter. However, the results can't be made public at this time, Kimbrough says, because they're considered evidence in the case. In her words, the digits "will come out through the course of the criminal-justice process."
Moreno, who was reportedly involved in but not charged for a 2010 bar fight, has an 8 a.m. March 2 court date in relation to the arrest. At this point, the Broncos are playing his apparent indiscretion close to the vest, releasing a statement that reads, "We take the incident involving Knowshon Moreno very seriously and are thoroughly reviewing this matter. Our organization will continue to gather information and closely monitor this issue while the legal process runs its course."
Still, the matter certainly won't boost his stock, which has been sliding lately. Since being drafted in the first round circa 2009 under the auspices of discredited coach Josh McDaniels, Moreno has shown flashes of brilliance but has generally underperformed. At the start of the season, John Fox, McDaniels's replacement, split Moreno's on-field time with that given to new acquisition McGahee. Before long, though, McGahee was getting the majority of the snaps, as Moreno was placed in a change-of-pace role. Then, during the November 16 Kansas City Chiefs game, Moreno tore his ACL, ending his season and putting his future in jeopardy.
In most cases, an ACL tear isn't a career-ender. But with Moreno already deemed a bust in some quarters, he's got a lot to prove -- and negative attention for reportedly driving while "SAUCED" certainly won't help his cause.
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