AUSTIN, Texas -- Texas defensive end Henry Melton and
linebacker Sergio Kindle will miss the first three games of the
2007 season after being charged in separate DWI cases over the
Kindle and Melton will miss games against Arkansas State, TCU
and Central Florida as punishment for being arrested over the
summer. The announcement came from coach Mack Brown as the
Longhorns reported to training camp Sunday.
The players will also be held out of the first couple of days of
practice when they will visit with a woman whose child was crippled
by a drunk driver, Brown said. He did not identify the woman. The
players also must perform some form of community service on behalf
of the team before they will be allowed to play.
"I think we've got to send a message, and kids have to learn,"
Brown said. "It is a good opportunity for our football team to
step up and talk about how serious we feel about drinking and
Kindle, a sophomore, was expected to compete for significant
playing time this season after playing in 11 games in 2006. Melton,
a former short-yardage running back, moved to defensive end full
time in the spring.
"This punishes the team. They are both good players," Brown
Several Longhorns have faced criminal charges in recent months.
A third player, freshman linebacker Dre Jones, was suspended
indefinitely last week after being charged with aggravated robbery.
Former safety Robert Joseph was also charged, but he had already
left the team after being arrested in a separate incident over the
Brown doesn't think the arrests have ruined his reputation for
running a clean program.
"I need to step up and take responsibility for anything
negative and to be a strong leader," Brown said.
Senior defensive lineman Frank Okam said other players can learn
from the suspensions.
"Here you have a standard you have to uphold and be accountable
for," Okam said.
Also on Sunday, running backs coach Ken Rucker announced that he
has prostate cancer. Rucker said the illness was diagnosed after a
regular visit with his doctor and that the disease was caught
early. Although he initially hoped to have surgery after the
season, it is scheduled for Aug. 27. Rucker will coach until then
and said he hopes to return before the end of the season.
"When you have cancer, you want to get it out," Rucker said.
"With time, I'm going to be fine."
Brown said he hoped that by the start of practice Monday, his
team will focus on the Sept. 1 opener against Arkansas State
instead of off-field troubles.
"I've spent more time the last 10 days thinking about things
other than football," Brown said. "I'd like to get back to