The disappointing career of Cardinals defensive tackle Wendell Bryant has been hurt again with the revelation he was arrested for drunken driving in late June near his offseason home in Madison, Wis.
Bryant is scheduled to appear in a Wisconsin court Thursday to answer for the charges. Neither he or his agent were able to be reached for comment Saturday. Cardinals officials could not be reached for comment.
Bryant, the Cards’ No. 1 draft pick in 2002, has never earned his way into the starting lineup longterm and has just 1 1/2 sacks in his two seasons. A holdout into the regular season of his first year, Bryant never seemed to get over the way the team negotiated his first contract and has been frustrated with his lack of progress on the field.
Asked after the team’s first offseason practice in March if he felt any additional pressure with new coach Dennis Green, Bryant said, "I’m always under the gun — is there anything (expletive) new around here?"
The comment wasn’t well-received by Green, and Bryant avoided interviews much of the offseason. But he was earning respect for his work on the practice field with defensive line coach Deek Pollard and seemed to make an effort at contrition in an article on the team’s Web site.
"(Deek) told me some real stuff and that I need to grow up and he’s right," Bryant said. "I need to have accountability and I need to do what I was brought here to do for this franchise."
But Bryant still was listed as a second-stringer behind Russell Davis coming out of the offseason work, and this incident won’t help.
According to University of Wisconsin-Madison police, a caller reported a reckless driver around 4:30 a.m. June 27. Police found the car parked near a convenience store, and watched it drive away and run a flashing red light. It was also traveling about 20 miles an hour above the posted 25-mph limit before police pulled it over.
Bryant was issued multiple citations: Operating under the influence, speeding, failing to stop for a flashing red light and operating a vehicle with a prohibited alcohol concentration of .10 percent or more.
The Cardinals have not had a good run of their firstround picks since 1999, not including 2004 choice Larry Fitzgerald. Of the seven other first-rounders in that time, two are no longer with the team (wide receiver David Boston, running back Thomas Jones), one has been benched (tackle L.J. Shelton) and the other four have underachieved to varying degrees (Bryant, tackle Leonard Davis, wide receiver Bryant Johnson and defensive end Calvin Pace). The team is hopeful Davis and Johnson will be improved this season.