No suspensions for UGA LBs Patrick and Smith after both pass drug tests

Mississippi quarterback Chad Kelly (10) manages to make a pass as he is hit by Georgia linebacker Roquan Smith (3) in the first half.

Georgia will have its top two tacklers available to play No. 14 Florida on Saturday.

 

The school announced Monday that sophomore inside linebackers Roquan Smith and Natrez Patrick will not be suspended after university police investigated a report suspected marijuana use in a dorm of room on Oct. 15. Police didn’t file any charges.

“After receiving an incident report last week, we determined that neither Roquan Smith nor Natrez Patrick had violated any Athletic Association rules that would require suspension,” Georgia athletic director Greg McGarity said in a statement. “This included drug testing, which was negative for both student-athletes.”

Police searched Patrick’s dorm room in which he and Smith were on the night of the incident after a resident assistant reported smelling marijuana.

"We brought the matter to a conclusion today," coach Kirby Smart said at his weekly news conference. "I'm happy for these two young men that they get to move on to football and not have to deal with a distraction."

Police found a fake can of Arizona strawberry iced tea with a hidden compartment, but marijuana wasn’t found in the can. Patrick admitted to keeping marijuana in it when he had possession of it, but said he did not have any on that night.

Police found other items identified as drug paraphernalia including a “smoke buddy, tobacco gutted from cigars and rolled in a paper towel and lighters and towels rolled up and pushed against door cracks.  Both players admitted to smoking cigars that night, but not marijuana.

"I will say that on the field both these two young men have been exemplary leaders, especailly for sophomores," Smart said. "I think I've mentioned before that Natrez and Roquan have just started to kind of be vocal maybe since the Ole Miss game, which is tough when you're a sophomore because you're in the bottom half of leadership."

Smart was asked about Georgia's drug and alcohol policy, which is among the more stringent nationally. It calls for a suspension of one game for a first-time violation, six games for a second and a dismissal for a third.

"I'm a team player when it comes to policy," said Smart, who McGarity and president Jere Morehead discussed with him before he was hired. "I believe in doing what the team theme is, which is what our Athletic Association has been so far. Do I think we live in a society that's a little bit different now than it was back whenever?  Sure I do. I always believe in what we have and we know and accept the rules that we've been charged with."

Patrick was suspended last November after a marijuana arrest.

“Since November 2015, I have dedicated myself to moving forward,” Patrick said in a statement. “I’m blessed to have done that despite hurdles I’ve had to clear. This incident was simply another hurdle and I was confident I would successfully clear it. I’ll continue to move forward and I’m anxious to play Saturday.”

Smith also issued a statement through Georgia.

“As a student at the University of Georgia and a member of the football team, I take this opportunity very seriously,” he said. “I have followed the rules of the Athletic Association and I am happy this situation has been rightfully resolved. I look forward to representing my school and my team on Saturday in Jacksonville.”

 

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