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McKinnie: I have to learn from this

October 2nd, 2008 – 1:07 PM by Judd Zulgad

Left tackle Bryant McKinnie addressed the media today for the first time since being suspended for the first four games of the regular season for violating the NFL’s personal conduct policy. McKinnie spent his time away from the Vikings working out at his Florida home and appears to be in good condition.

“I’m very excited to finally be back,” McKinnie said standing in the Vikings locker room. “After being gone for a month [to] be able to try to get back in the lineup and help my teammates win.”

Coach Brad Childres sounded as if McKinnie would start at left tackle on Monday night against the Saints but he did not close the door on Artis Hicks possibly getting some reps if McKinnie gets tired. McKinnie also is listed atop the Vikings’ official depth chart at left tackle.

McKinnie, in his seventh season, said he has “definitely” changed his life after this latest incident. “I grew as a person and matured,” he said, “learned how to make better decisions.”

McKinnie’s suspension was announced by NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell just before the regular season started. He had been arrested in Miami on Feb. 24 following a brawl outside of a nightclub. He pleaded not guilty to all charges, which included a felony for aggravated battery.

“I was kind of surprised but there was nothing I could do about it,” McKinnie said of his suspension. “I put myself in that position. I just [have] to learn from this and don’t put myself in a position like that to give [Goodell] an option of how many games [to suspend me] or whatever.”

The legal case continues against McKinnie and his next hearing is scheduled for Nov. 18 in Miami-Dade court. The latest incident resulted McKinnie in being considered a multiple offender of the league’s personal conduct policy. He had been fined one game check in 2006 after pleading guilty to a misdemeanor charge for his role in the Vikings’ infamous Love Boat incident on Lake Minnetonka.

McKinnie said he would not stop going out at night “because then you drive youself crazy” but said he knows he needs to have a better game plan when he does decide to go out. Asked if he was a changed man, McKinnie said: “You can’t change overnight but I’m in the process of changing.”

It’s a busy day out here at Winter Park so don’t stop reading here. Just below Chip has posted some new information on linebacker E.J. Henderson’s foot injury.

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