That whole thing about Western Michigan’s most productive player on the defensive side of the football leaving the program? Never mind.
In very late February, WMU announced that Robert Spillane (pictured) had asked for and been granted a release from his scholarship in order to transfer to another school. It was thought at the time that the linebacker could be following his former head coach, P.J. Fleck, to Minnesota; the Gophers subsequently self-reported a minor violation to the NCAA regarding Fleck’s contact with one of his unnamed former players.
Wednesday, Spillane’s transfer plans were reversed as Fleck’s replacement, Tim Lester, confirmed that the junior has rejoined the Broncos football team. His official return, it should be noted, had to be approved by the team’s leadership council, the team as a whole as well as the coaching staff — and it was unanimously given a thumbs-up by all involved.
“We’ve been texting throughout the whole process of when he was away,” the head coach said according to mlive.com. “I was hoping he was doing alright. He came in and I met with him and he told me he wanted to come back and join the guys and that he felt terrible about his time away.”
Last season, Spillane led the Broncos in tackles with 111 — next closest was Asantay Brown‘s 95 — while he was second in tackles for loss with 10.5 and tied for third in sacks with three. His three interceptions were tied for second as well. The last of those three picks came at the end of the MAC championship game that helped seal WMU’s win over Ohio.
The past three seasons, Spillane started 28 games for the Broncos. He started all 14 games last season.