Recent NFL tragedies shake up one Viking who erred, too

  • Article by: KENT YOUNGBLOOD , Star Tribune
  • Updated: December 14, 2012 - 11:49 PM

Vikings fullback Jerome Felton, who faces a DWI charge, said young men often feel invincible. He said he knows better now.


Jerome Felton said he realizes the risks of drinking and driving now and what misery it could cause.

Photo: Jerry Holt, Star Tribune

CameraStar Tribune photo galleries

Cameraview larger

Jerome Felton had the same reaction most of us had when news came out of Dallas last week of the drunk-driving-related death involving Dallas Cowboys defensive lineman Josh Brent.

Shock, sadness, sympathy.

But, for Felton, there was more.

"It makes you step back and think," the Vikings fullback said. "Whether it be me or my friends that have been in that situation before, in the blink of an eye, no matter who you are, that can be you."

Brent's early morning car wreck took the life of his passenger, teammate Jerry Brown. Brent was charged with intoxication manslaughter.

In early June, Felton was arrested in Eden Prairie on suspicion of driving while impaired. Felton couldn't speak Friday to the specifics of the case, which has yet to be resolved. But, sitting by his locker at Winter Park, Felton talked like a man who had learned a very valuable lesson.

"It's not worth it," he said of drinking and driving. "At the end of the day, what is a $100 taxi bill? [Brent] never meant to hurt his best friend. He made a poor decision and there was a tragic outcome. You feel sorry for both of them. Obviously, because one man lost his life and you feel bad for his family. But, in many ways, Josh lost part of his life, too."

The issue of drinking and driving is one that has plagued society, not just NFL locker rooms, despite exhaustive measures taken by the NFL as a whole and by individual teams in particular to curb the practice.

Still, in the wake of the horrific events of the past two weekends involving NFL players -- two weeks ago, Chiefs player Jovan Belcher killed the mother of his daughter, then committed suicide in front of team officials in Kansas City -- Vikings coach Leslie Frazier felt it necessary to speak to his team again.

"My heart goes out to the staffs and families in Kansas City and now in Dallas as well," Frazier said. "Yes, personally, I do talk to our players about their behavior in the building, out of the building, what your standards are. We have a code of conduct here that we take players through. In light of what has more recently happened I have talked to our guys and will talk to them again this week.''

A lot of work goes into trying to educate players on the issue. New players hear it at the mandatory Rookie Symposium. The Vikings bring in speakers to talk about the subject. The team has a program in which players can call members of Vikings security to get rides home whenever needed -- it is a service available to every Vikings employee.

Jared Allen, the team's NFL Players Association representative, brought brochures to the locker room Friday touting the NFLPA's Player Transportation Link program, a confidential transportation service available for players. It includes both pre-arranged and emergency response services.

"The league does plenty," said Vikings punter Chris Kluwe who tweeted on the subject after Brent's accident. "They have resources available for us, the teams have resources available for us. What it comes down to is whether players are going to do the right thing or not. There are presentations every year. It's, 'Here's our security guy. Here's our number. Call us. Don't be afraid to call us.'... It is completely confidential; our security guys aren't going to tell the coaches, because they realize if word gets out, nobody will use it."

Still, the problem persists; Felton's was the third such arrest in 10 months for the Vikings, preceded by quarterback Rhett Bomar and safety Tyrell Johnson.

Fewer NFL players, though, are arrested than other men aged 22 to 34, according to Georgetown economics professor Stephen Bronars, and the number of NFL players being arrested has dropped 40 percent in the past six years.

Ultimately, it comes down to making the right choices.

"I guess there is that air of invincibility, being a young guy," Felton said. "And not just being a football player, but being a young guy in general. You take things for granted. You think it can't happen to you."

Unfortunately it does. Recent events have shown that.

"It makes you think how you want to approach things going forward," Felton said.

  • VIKINGS WEEK 15 • Up next: Noon Sunday at St. Louis • TV: Ch. 9 (100.3-FM, 1130-AM)

  • get related content delivered to your inbox

  • manage my email subscriptions


Chicago WSox 1 Top 5th Inning
NY Yankees 3
Tampa Bay 3 Top 7th Inning
Toronto 2
Detroit 1 Top 5th Inning
Minnesota 9
Seattle 2 Top 4th Inning
Boston 3
Baltimore 2 Top 2nd Inning
Chicago Cubs 0
San Francisco - T. Lincecum 3:05 PM
Washington - J. Zimmermann
Houston - C. McHugh 6:05 PM
Cleveland - D. Salazar
St. Louis - S. Miller 6:05 PM
Philadelphia - D. Buchanan
Atlanta - E. Santana 6:10 PM
Cincinnati - M. Leake
Pittsburgh - E. Volquez 6:10 PM
Milwaukee - W. Peralta
San Diego - A. Cashner 7:10 PM
Arizona - V. Nuno
Miami - T. Koehler 7:10 PM
Colorado - J. Lyles
Detroit - J. Verlander 7:10 PM
Minnesota - T. May
Kansas City - J. Guthrie 7:25 PM
Texas - N. Tepesch
LA Angels - C. Wilson 8:05 PM
Oakland - J. Lester
NY Mets - J. deGrom 8:10 PM
Los Angeles - Z. Greinke
Tampa Bay 3:30 PM
Tennessee 6:00 PM
Dallas 6:00 PM
Washington 6:30 PM
New Orleans 7:00 PM
Minnesota 7:00 PM
Kansas City
St. Louis 7:00 PM
Houston 8:00 PM
San Diego 8/24/14 3:00 PM
San Francisco
Cincinnati 8/24/14 7:00 PM
Atlanta 8/28/14 5:00 PM
Detroit 8/28/14 6:00 PM
Indianapolis 8/28/14 6:00 PM
Kansas City 8/28/14 6:00 PM
Green Bay
NY Jets 8/28/14 6:00 PM
St. Louis 8/28/14 6:00 PM
Carolina 8/28/14 6:30 PM
New England 8/28/14 6:30 PM
NY Giants
Washington 8/28/14 6:30 PM
Tampa Bay
Baltimore 8/28/14 7:00 PM
New Orleans
Chicago 8/28/14 7:00 PM
Denver 8/28/14 7:00 PM
Minnesota 8/28/14 7:00 PM
San Francisco 8/28/14 7:00 PM
Arizona 8/28/14 9:00 PM
San Diego
Seattle 8/28/14 9:00 PM
(21) Texas A&M 8/28/14 5:00 PM
(9) So Carolina
Wake Forest 8/28/14 6:00 PM
Boise State 8/28/14 7:00 PM
(18) Ole Miss
Tulane 8/28/14 7:00 PM
Temple 8/28/14 8:15 PM
Rutgers 8/28/14 9:00 PM
Washington St
Weber State 8/28/14 9:30 PM
(19) Arizona State
BYU 8/29/14 6:00 PM
(6) Jacksonville St 8/29/14 6:30 PM
(8) Michigan State
Bowling Green 8/29/14 6:30 PM
Western Ky
TX-San Antonio 8/29/14 8:00 PM
Colorado State 8/29/14 8:00 PM
UNLV 8/29/14 9:30 PM
UCF 8/30/14 7:30 AM
Penn State
Troy 8/30/14 11:00 AM
(7) UCLA 8/30/14 11:00 AM
Western Mich 8/30/14 11:00 AM
(5) Ohio State 8/30/14 11:00 AM
Appalachian St 8/30/14 11:00 AM
Ga Southern 8/30/14 11:30 AM
NC State
Boston College 8/30/14 2:00 PM
West Virginia 8/30/14 2:30 PM
(2) Alabama
Rice 8/30/14 2:30 PM
(17) Notre Dame
(10) South Dakota St 8/30/14 2:30 PM
(24) Missouri
Fla Atlantic 8/30/14 2:30 PM
(22) Nebraska
California 8/30/14 2:30 PM
Marshall 8/30/14 2:30 PM
UC Davis 8/30/14 3:00 PM
(11) Stanford
Arkansas 8/30/14 3:00 PM
(6) Auburn
(16) Clemson 8/30/14 4:30 PM
(12) Georgia
Liberty 8/30/14 5:00 PM
(23) North Carolina
Ohio U 8/30/14 5:00 PM
Kent State
Louisiana Tech 8/30/14 6:00 PM
(4) Oklahoma
Idaho 8/30/14 6:00 PM
Stephen F Austin 8/30/14 6:10 PM
(20) Kansas State
Fresno State 8/30/14 6:30 PM
(15) USC
Southern Miss 8/30/14 6:30 PM
Miss State
Texas-El Paso 8/30/14 7:00 PM
New Mexico
North Texas 8/30/14 7:00 PM
Oklahoma State 8/30/14 7:00 PM
(1) Florida State
(14) Wisconsin 8/30/14 8:00 PM
(13) LSU
South Dakota 8/30/14 9:30 PM
(3) Oregon
(25) Washington 8/30/14 9:30 PM
Chicago 6:00 PM
Toronto FC
Montreal 6:00 PM
Red Bull New York
Chivas USA 6:30 PM
New England
Houston 6:30 PM
D.C. 7:30 PM
Sporting Kansas City
Vancouver FC 9:30 PM
Los Angeles
Montreal 16 FINAL
Winnipeg 24
Toronto 3:00 PM
Calgary 8/24/14 2:00 PM
Saskatchewan 8/24/14 6:00 PM
Brt Columbia
Ottawa 8/29/14 6:30 PM
Winnipeg 8/31/14 2:00 PM
Toronto 9/1/14 12:00 PM
Edmonton 9/1/14 3:30 PM
Indiana 4:00 PM
Minnesota 6:00 PM
San Antonio
Connect with twitterConnect with facebookConnect with Google+Connect with PinterestConnect with PinterestConnect with RssfeedConnect with email newsletters



Date/Opponent Time W L Score
2014 preseason     
Aug 8 - vs. Oakland 7 pmX10-6
Aug 16 - vs. Arizona 7:30 pmX30-28
Aug 23 - at Kansas City 7 pm
Aug 28 - at Tennessee 7 pm
2014 regular season     
Sep 7 - at St. Louis Noon
Sep 14 - vs. New England Noon
Sep 21 - at New Orleans Noon
Sep 28 - vs. Atlanta 3:25 pm
Oct 2 - at Green Bay 7:25 pm
Oct 12 - vs. Detroit Noon
Oct 19 - at. Buffalo Noon
Oct 26 - at Tampa Bay Noon
Nov 2 - vs. Washington Noon
Nov 9 - Bye
Nov 16 - at Chicago Noon
Nov. 23 - vs. Green Bay Noon
Nov. 30 - vs. Carolina Noon
Dec 7 - vs. NY Jets Noon
Dec 14 - at Detroit Noon
Dec 21 - at Miami Noon
Dec 28 - vs. Chicago Noon




question of the day

Poll: Who would you rather have on your team?

Weekly Question