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Jets' Donahue says 30-day stay in rehab was 'life-changing'

Former Billings West football player Dylan Donahue, now with the New York Jets, spent 30 days at an inpatient rehab facility after his second DUI arrest. 

New York Jets linebacker Dylan Donahue received a three-month suspended sentence Friday after a first DUI in Billings in 2017.

Donahue, 25, was charged in municipal court with operating a non-commercial vehicle with a blood-alcohol level above the legal limit. He pleaded guilty through his attorney Friday and was sentenced at the same hearing.

According to charges, Donahue was driving west on Airport Road on May 9, 2017, when he hit an abandoned vehicle, causing his Jeep to flip onto its top. Donahue said the vehicle was partially in his lane, but a witness disputed that. 

Donahue and a passenger were both wearing seat belts and were transported to a hospital for medical evaluation. There was no serious injury and the case was charged as a misdemeanor. A blood draw showed Donahue's BAC was 0.137. In Montana, the legal limit is 0.08.

Municipal Court Judge Michelle Lee’s sentence followed a joint recommendation of a three-month suspended sentence and a $1,000 fine. The city did not object to Donahue receiving a probationary license if the Motor Vehicle Division grants it, city prosecutor Teague Westrope said.

Westrope said the recommended sentence was shorter than the city’s standard six-month suspended sentence because it takes into account Donahue’s voluntary completion of substance abuse treatment earlier this year.

The prosecutor also said that if Donahue had prevailed on his motions to suppress evidence, the city would “have no case,” and the plea deal ensured the professional athlete would be held accountable.

Donahue spent a month in a substance abuse treatment facility in Jacksonville, Florida this year, telling reporters he’d had a wake-up call and decided to seek help.

On Wednesday, Donahue pleaded guilty in Weehawken Municipal Court in New Jersey to driving while intoxicated there, The Associated Press reported. In that case, Donahue caused a wrong-way crash that injured four people in February in the Lincoln Tunnel, a 1.5-mile long roadway leading into Manhattan.

Because of that case, Donahue will have to drive with an ignition interlock device for a year while his license is being reinstated, according to The AP.

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Speaking to reporters after practice on Thursday, Donahue acknowledged his legal troubles have prompted changes in his life.

"Well, since the incident, I haven't had a drop of alcohol," Donahue said. "And I've encouraged my teammates that do have any issues with that subject, too. I like to help everyone out. It's definitely changed my perspective on a lot of things."

Donahue could be facing a suspension from the NFL as a result of the DWI arrests, The AP reports. 

Donahue played for Billings West High and graduated in 2011. He began his college career at Montana Western before finding success at the juco level with Palomar College in California and then Division-II West Georgia on his way to the NFL.

Donahue was drafted by the NFL's New York Jets in the fifth round with 181st selection. He played in four games for the Jets before suffering a season-ending elbow injury in Week 4 against the Jacksonville Jaguars.

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The Associated Press contibuted reporting to this story.

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