Sergio Kindle avoided jail time after pleading guilty to drunken-driving charges Tuesday, but the Ravens linebacker still faces an uncertain future on the football field.

Judge Neil Edward Axel sentenced the 23-year-old rookie to two years of probation because he thought Kindle had taken "positive steps" in getting treatment for alcohol abuse — including spending five days in a private Owings Mills facility last week.

During the hearing, Kindle apologized, saying, "I'm very remorseful for my actions. I am held to a higher standard and people look up to me. I see that it's a problem and I'm here to get it treated. I want to continue to address this as long as need be."

Kindle left court in a hurry, dodging reporters waiting outside the Howard County District Courthouse, and sprinting toward a waiting vehicle.

"He's delighted with the judge's sentence," Kindle's attorney, Warren Alperstein, said after the hearing. "He is eager to put this behind him, but he certainly recognizes the need to continue addressing the issues that caused him to be here today."

Along with two years of unsupervised probation, Kindle was ordered to continue to get treatment, attend one or two self-help meetings a week and abstain from alcohol. If he violates the terms of his probation, Kindle faces up to 360 days in jail.

The drunken-driving incident occurred in December 2010. According to charging documents, Kindle was arrested when a patrol officer noticed his Cadillac speeding and swerving on Route 1 near Laurel a little past 4 a.m. the day after Christmas. After stopping Kindle near the entrance to Interstate 95, the officer said he smelled alcohol on Kindle's breath and said that Kindle's eyes were bloodshot and glassy, according to the documents.

Kindle told police that he had "a few drinks" at a club in Washington earlier that night. Kindle failed his field sobriety test, and at one point after telling police that he played for the Ravens, said that his head injury had caused him to "lose his equilibrium." Kindle was given a breathalyzer test at the county's detention center and registered 0.17, more than twice the legal limit in Maryland.

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