UF hands out indefinite SUSPENSION

Florida senior defensive tackle Marcus Thomas is hoping to find out today how long his suspension will be for failing a second drug test for marijuana since July, his mother said Wednesday.

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ROB C. WITZEL/The Gainesville Sun

"He went to the appeal today and he's hoping it won't be as bad as he initially thought," Thomas' mother, Sheila Mote, said Wednesday. "We're hoping maybe it will only be a couple of games at the most.

"I think the bottom line is he was wrong, he made a mistake. He knows that now. He's spoken to me about how he really feels bad for letting his teammates down and, of course, his family. It's a hard lesson learned. I'm hoping that it turns out he doesn't have to miss too many games. But he may miss at least one or two. It's a hard lesson and I think he's learned from it."

Florida coach Urban Meyer on Wednesday confirmed Thomas has been suspended indefinitely and he will not play in Saturday's game against Kentucky.

Reports Wednesday that Thomas had been suspended for five games were not correct. An indefinite suspension means he could miss fewer than five or more than that number. That has yet to be determined.

"Yes, (it's an indefinite suspension)," Meyer said after practice Wednesday. "There's no timetable. I've heard there's all this stuff. There's nothing set in stone."

Meyer said Thomas will not practice or participate in any team activities until his status is resolved.

"He's suspended. The whole situation is under review," Meyer said. "It's under evaluation and I'll comment when it's appropriate. I just have to learn more about it.

"This is going to be more than one (game missed). He won't play this week. Out of fairness to the young person, (I'll comment) at the appropriate time."

Mote said her son failed a drug test for marijuana in July, which led to his suspension for the first game of the season. Mote said he was tested again in August and the result, which came in earlier this week, was also positive. He was then suspended indefinitely by UF.

Mote said Thomas appealed the suspension on the grounds that the second test was given too soon after the first and there were lingering effects from smoking marijuana at a party this summer.

"I think that's what happened," she said. "That's just my own personal opinion; I'm not an expert.

"He thought this was behind him, but it unfortunately came back. We'll deal with it. He'll be OK. He's down, but he's hanging in there."

In 2001, cornerback Lito Sheppard and center David Jorgensen successfully appealed a one-game suspension for failing a drug test. They claimed they had inhaled second-hand smoke at a party.

Thomas is considered one of UF's best defensive players. After contemplating an early exit to the NFL after last season, Thomas decided to return for his senior season in hopes of enhancing his position in the NFL Draft.

Despite missing the first game, Thomas has recorded three of the Gators' four sacks this season.

Former defensive tackle Ray McDonald likely will move back inside from defensive end to replace Thomas. The other starter at tackle will be either Steven Harris or Joe Cohen. McDonald, Harris and Cohen are all seniors.

"Ray (played tackle) early in his career. That's his favorite position, inside," Meyer said. "I was asking our offensive linemen about (McDonald playing tackle). They made comments that there is a lot of explosiveness there, great hands. That's so much of what's playing inside.

"Joe, Steven and Ray, that's pretty good. We have three seniors who have played a lot of ball. There are a lot of guys playing well."

Contact Robbie Andreu at 374-5022 or


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