Vols suspend WR Da'Rick Rogers
Tennessee All-SEC receiver Da'Rick Rogers has been indefinitely suspended from the team, the university announced, and coach Derek Dooley said after practice Thursday that he does not expect Rogers to be with the team at all this season.
Low: Rogers Wore Out His Welcome
There's no question that Da'Rick Rogers was a difference-maker on the field but there's also no question he was a divisive force in the Vols' locker room who cared more about himself than the team, Chris Low writes. Blog
Sources told ESPN.com that Rogers' suspension came after multiple violations of the school's substance-abuse policy for athletes.
Earlier Thursday, the school had said Rogers' status for the remainder of the season is still to be determined.
"When you get into the coaching profession, you quickly learn that probably the No. 1 professional hazard is the behavior of 18- to 22-year-olds," Dooley said. "I can assure you guys this, that there's not one player, there's not really one member in the whole organization that we're not prepared to go play without."
Dooley wouldn't say what would it take for Rogers to rejoin the Volunteers this season.
"I don't want to get into specifics on that," Dooley said. "I think the assumption is he's not with us, and it's very unlikely he will be."
The junior from Calhoun, Ga., doesn't appear on the depth chart Tennessee released Thursday for its Aug. 31 season opener against North Carolina State at the Georgia Dome. Cordarrelle Patterson, a transfer from Hutchinson (Kan.) Community College, likely would start in Rogers' place.
Last season, Rogers led the SEC with 67 catches and was second in the league with 1,040 receiving yards. He also caught nine touchdown passes.
Dooley said as recently as a week ago that Rogers had enjoyed an exceptional preseason camp and that his attitude also had been good. Rogers found himself in Dooley's doghouse a couple of different times this past offseason because of attitude problems.
Losing Rogers would hurt the Vols' depth at receiver, although talented junior Justin Hunter is returning from a knee injury that sidelined him for most of last season. Patterson also has been impressive in camp.
Hunter caught 17 passes for 314 yards and two touchdowns last year before tearing the anterior cruciate ligament in his left knee Sept. 17.
Quarterback Tyler Bray noted that dealing with Hunter's injury last season could help Tennessee respond to this latest setback.
"It's a little different circumstance, but it's about the same thing," Bray said. "We have a mature group this year. We'll be fine."
Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.