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September 11, 2012
Sanders Commings admitted he could have opted not to meet with the media on Tuesday to discuss his just-completed two-game suspension.
He had a choice.
But according to the Augusta native, there was no time like the present to address the situation.
"If I didn't talk about it now, I'd have to talk about eventually," Commings told a group of approximately 15 reporters.
Commings wasn't the only suspended Bulldog to reacquaint himself with reporters Tuesday.
After practice, linebacker Chase Vasser spoke briefly after serving his two-game suspension for a summer DUI he received in Atlanta.
"It was a rude awakening. I was definitely embarrassed by it and I definitely learned my lesson," Vasser said. "When it happened, I just talked to coaches, promised I would come back strong."
Sitting out wasn't easy for Commings, either.
"It's been tough, but at the same time I've been patiently waiting, practicing hard and making sure I was ready when I was finally able to come back," said Commings, who was arrested in late January for simple battery and domestic violence after an early-morning incident with a girlfriend in downtown Athens.
"The toughest part was the Missouri game, watching that game. It was the environment you want to play in, a hostile environment on the road, but I was glad we got the win. Both sides of the ball played well," he said. "I would have felt pretty bad if we would have lost."
Head coach Mark Richt believes it was a lesson learned.
"The suspension was appropriate. It's one thing to miss a game, that hurts them, but also part of the punishment is what you have to live with as a person because of all the attention that it gets," he said. "You've got to look your parents in the eye, you've got to look your teammates and coaches in the eye; you've got to go to class. There's a lot of embarrassment when everything comes to light and is talked about over and over and over and he certainly didn't behave as he should.
"But he's paid his depth to society, paid his debt to the program in my opinion and I'm glad he's handled everything the way he has handled it. I think he will move forward and be a positive person and a positive teammate."
Commings said he did appeal the suspension.
"I did appeal it, but I waited too late," said Commings, who said last week's rumors of him possibly getting to play weren't off-base.
Commings said there was still a chance of him playing as late as last Thursday before the decision was made to keep him in Athens.
"There was a chance, but we didn't want to seem like I was coming back so we could win," Commings explained, adding he was surprised his suspension was two games long.
"I was surprised because they (coaches) know what really happened," Commings said. "They know what happened, but any time a player gets arrested for anything there has to be some suspension."
Commings said he's definitely learned his lesson.
"I've learned that I need to put myself around people who will bring the best out of me," said Commings.
The question now is where will Commings line up for Saturday night's game against Florida Atlantic (7:30, CSS).
"I'll be bouncing around from safety, to boundary, everywhere really," said Commings. "Whatever I can do to help the team, I will."
Richt said Commings could play either role.
"We'll always cross-train Sanders to play both corner and safety," Richt said. "He's probably bigger than both of our safeties. He's close to 220 pounds and as you all know can run real well, he's smart enough to play both positions so we will train him at both. I haven't had a chance to talk to Todd (Grantham) much about how he wants to do it."
As for Vasser, he'll play, but likely not atop the depth chart at Sam linebacker, where he was listed to start at the beginning of preseason drills.
"I think I've proved myself, but the coaches have to see that I'm not rusty," Vasser said. "Today, Grantham had a little fun getting at me, but my goal is to come back and pretty much punish the man in front of me, because I really haven't been getting a lot of reps."