John L. Smith: 'They'll have a chance'

Updated: June 1, 2012, 1:47 PM ET
By Edward Aschoff | ESPN.com

DESTIN, Fla. -- Arkansas interim coach John L. Smith has a plan in place in case his three suspended players return to the team after their legal issues are sorted out.

If receivers Marquel Wade and Maudrecus Humphrey and tight end Andrew Peterson, who were arrested and charged with burglarizing dorm rooms in mid-May, intend on playing football for the Razorbacks this fall they'll have to agree to and abide by a plan that Smith and other Razorback coaches have devised.

"That's what they're going to have to do," Smith said during the SEC spring meetings. "It's a matter of you getting up -- you're not a member of this football team -- and you earn your way back onto this team. It's going to be very, very hard and they understand that. And it's going to be demanding."

Smith, who is under a 10-month coaching contract with Arkansas, wouldn't go into detail about what the plan for the three players would entail, but he did maintain that each would have a long way to go before officially being allowed back on the team even if all three work through their legal issues.

According to arrest reports, the three stole textbooks, DVDs, laptops and more than $4,800 in cash from a university dormitory.

Hearings are set for June 15, but Smith said earlier this week that he expects to know soon on "which direction we're going to at least pursue with these guys" -- either a direction in which the players stay or one in which they leave.

Smith wasn't sure which direction that would be, but he thinks all three will have a chance to return to the team.

"I think they'll all have a chance," he said. "As we work through the process here that chance will either grow significantly, we hope, or it will diminish significantly in the next little while. As soon as we know something -- we're going to let you know."

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