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Monday, December 21, 2009
Texas KR Monroe back for title game

By Tim Griffin
ESPN.com

AUSTIN, Texas -- Texas freshman kickoff returner/receiver D.J. Monroe was reinstated to the Longhorns team Monday after his driving while intoxicated charges were dismissed late last week in Hays County.

The announcement was made Monday by Texas coach Mack Brown. It will mean that Monroe will be back for the Longhorns' Jan. 7 Citi BCS National Championship game against Alabama.

"I had a long talk with D.J. yesterday," Brown said. "We looked at the punishment he had, what will affect them in 15 years and what it does to the attitude of the team. And we felt that a three-game suspension for the charges that were dropped, that he should be reinstated."

Monroe's charges were dismissed after he accepted a charge of obstruction of a passageway.

Monroe was arrested on Nov. 15 in Hays County, south of Austin, after playing against Baylor the previous day. After his arrest, Brown suspended him for the Longhorns' final three games of the season.

Before his arrest, Monroe ranked second nationally with a 35.79 yards per kickoff return average. He returned kickoffs for touchdowns against Louisiana-Monroe and UTEP.

He is listed as a receiver for the Longhorns but did not account for a reception. Monroe produced 110 yards on 20 carries, typically on reverse plays and sweeps.

Brown said that Monroe's primary role will be as a kick returner.

Monroe's return for the bowl game will be huge for the Longhorns, returning their fastest player back to the roster for the game.

His speed could be critical in special teams and also as a spot player in certain situations against the Crimson Tide.

It will also reduce some of the demands for Texas All-America receiver Jordan Shipley, who saw his production drop when he added kickoff returns to his punt return and receiving duties with Monroe's suspension.

Shipley averaged 13.5 yards per catch over the first nine games of the season but saw that production drop to 10.7 yards per catch after Monroe’s suspension.

Tim Griffin covers Big 12 football for ESPN.com. You may contact him at espntimgriff@yahoo.com.