Marcus Lattimore

Spurrier: Lattimore says he will return to play… for Gamecocks


Whether Marcus Lattimore can return from a devastating knee injury, one that involved a dislocated right knee and severe damage to several ligaments in the joint, remains clouded in uncertainty despite optimism on all fronts.

If the running back does indeed return to the playing field, though, the comeback could very well commence in Columbia.

At a rally for what was officially designated “Marcus Lattimore Day” in the state of South Carolina, Steve Spurrier proclaimed that the back, in a text message, said he wasn’t done playing for the Gamecocks.

“The message he gave me was, `I’ll be back,'” Spurrier said. “So he’s coming back.”

The Ol’ Ball Coach punctuated that message with a “can’t wait until that [number] 21 is playing out there at Williams-Brice real soon.”

Unfortunately, real soon doesn’t seem likely.  While USC’s team doctor confirmed there’s a chance Lattimore could return in 2013, there’s also the very real possibility he won’t return until 2014.  Optimism aside, there also exists the possibility that, given the extent of the damage, the resumption of a football career may not be physically possible.

Another possibility?  During the course of what’s expected to an extensive and grueling rehabilitation process, Lattimore could decide to make his return at the NFL level.

Still, the fact that the current chatter in the immediacy of such a horrific injury is a return to the playing field — and the fact that Lattimore has already returned from a torn ACL in his left knee — bodes well for a player who, by all accounts, is the type of class individual who deserves something positive to come out of such an unimaginable development.

Former Texas A&M WR Thomas Johnson arrested on murder charge

Thomas Johnson
Associated Press

A very disturbing story has emerged out of Dallas, where former Texas A&M wide receiver Thomas Johnson sits in a Dallas County jail cell after allegedly admitting to hacking an unsuspecting jogger to death with a machete.

Just before 8 a.m. Monday, authorities say Johnson went to White Rock Creek Trail, a popular jogging trail in northeast Dallas, and randomly slashed a jogger to death. “It appears Mr. Johnson picked this victim at random. Absolutely random,” Deputy Chief Rob Sherwin told the Dallas Morning News. “He just attacked him. … It’s just very unusual. It’s quite shocking.”

Johnson then walked away from the scene in search of a cell phone. An onlooker had already dialed 911, and when police arrived Johnson allegedly told them there was a man “laying down with a sword in his head and not moving.”

“I just committed capital murder,” Johnson said and then repeated, according to his arrest affidavit. The only motive police reported was that Johnson was angry at his situation in life at the time of the slaying.

The victim, an unidentified male between the age of 25 and 35, passed away at a nearby hospital.

Johnson, meanwhile, remains in a Dallas County jail in lieu of $500,000 bail.

Johnson was a highly-regarded member of Kevin Sumlin‘s first recruiting class at Texas A&M. As a true freshman in 2012, the Dallas native caught 30 passes for 339 yards and one touchdown through the Aggies’ upset of then-No. 1 Alabama and then simply… disappeared. He went missing for three days in November 2012 before turning up back home in Dallas. His mother told the San Antonio Express-News last April Johnson would like to return to college football, but a return to the game never materialized.

No punishment from SEC for Bielema’s sideline interaction with Alabama player

Bret Bielema

Arkansas head coach Bret Bielema will not be disciplined by the SEC office for his brief interaction with Alabama offensive lineman Cam Robinson last weekend. A video showing Bielema exaggerating his interaction with Robinson at the end of a play was reviewed by SEC commissioner Greg Sankey, and the commissioner has discussed the situation with the Razorbacks coach.

“I visited with Bret over the phone on Monday and we discussed the play that has now become widely reviewed through a brief video clip,” Sankey said in a released statement. “Football is played in an intense competitive environment and I reminded him of the need for head coaches to resolve with their own players issues that may arise, which was his intent. The unsportsmanlike penalty assessed on the play was not directly associated with Bret’s efforts to intervene at the end of the play and we are moving forward in a positive manner.”

That appears to be the end of the discussion regarding Bielema’s act. I personally think there should have been some more done here by the league’s commissioner, but we will see if Bielema avoids putting himself in a similar position moving forward.