Geno Smith Has Path Back To Tide

In a weekend of bad news for a couple of Alabama football players, it was not as bad for senior safety Geno Smith as it was for junior defensive tackle Jonathan Taylor. While Taylor was dismissed from the team after being charged with domestic violence, Smith will have an opportunity to rejoin his team.

Alabama Coach Nick Saban said he was “a little disappointed in Geno Smith.”

Smith, projected by many as a starting safety for the Crimson Tide in 2015, is getting a second chance after he was charged with driving while intoxicated over the weekend. He had also been arrested on that charge in 2013.

Smith doesn’t just waltz back onto the team, though. Saban said, “When he does a few things that he needs to do over the next few days, and he's going to have quite a bit of things that he has to do in the future, which I'm not going to be willing to share with anybody -- that's kind of a private matter -- then he'll be back on the field and we'll allow him to practice again.

“But our focus right now is to help Geno in every way that we can, do things that we need to do so that he can be a productive person, a productive student and productive player. He's always been a good student and he's always done a good job and he's always been a good competitor on our team and has always set a pretty good example, in terms of how he's played."

Saban did not consider throwing Smith off the team.

Saban met with reporters Monday afternoon and said, “We have a drug and alcohol policy here, and we have circumstances that a guy has to go through. I guess discipline is punishment. I've always viewed my position as a coach to help young people have a better chance to be successful as you would your own children in your own home. I don't know if you have children, but you don't throw them out with the bath water every time they do something wrong.

“This is the second (DUI) for him. There is a series of things that he has to do internally, which will -- the term will be inpatient and outpatient -- to help him get better. We have a series of counseling, things that we're going to do to try to help him with psychological disposition, so he can be more positive and not feel the need to do things like this. So we're trying to help the person, and when we feel like we've helped him enough that he can get back on the field then we'll do that.

“But I had no consideration (to dismiss him) because I've never gotten rid of a guy on a second incident when it comes to drugs and alcohol. You don't know about the drug issues because we don't release any of that, so we have guys going through this program all the time and we're trying to help them and we've been successful in helping a lot of these players.

“Rather than try to condemn Geno for what he did, which I don't approve of -- I don't even drink -- so I don't approve of people driving and putting other people in danger when they're drinking. I don't want you to think I'm condoning what he did. I don't. We're disappointed in him. But we're also here to help our players, and we're going to try to help Geno every way that we can. We have a lot of good people who have helped people in the past and hopefully we'll be able to help Geno."


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