Millines Status in Question

Coach Tim Beckman opened his spring practice press conference Monday by delivering bad news.

Illinois coach Tim Beckman kicked off his opening spring practice press conference Monday with surprising news of the negative variety.

Rising senior wideout Darius Millines has been suspended for a violation of team policy.

"We hate to do it but we're going to make sure we're doing things the proper way," Beckman said.

"We have team policies here and we expect them to be followed. That's the situation."

Millines, who caught 32 pass for 319 yards in 2012, was already unable to participate in spring drills due to rehabilitation to his shoulder (torn labrum).

He'll continue to attend class and tutoring sessions and his status with the team will be addressed again in May. If Millines takes care of his responsibilities, he stands a chance to be reinstated.

"The ball is in Darius' court now," Beckman said.

Millines missed two games completely last season and never appeared fully healthy after spraining his ankle in the season opening game against Western Michigan.

The offense was already preparing to practice without Millines, with a senior-laden wide receivers corps entering spring.

Statistically, Ryan Lankford led the team in every major receiving category in 2012. He and Spencer Harris are the most experienced returning wideouts. Former quarterback Miles Osei will play receiver exclusively in 2013, as will Steve Hull, who is moving from safety to the position he began his career at.

Illinois begins spring drills Tuesday, with a string of 15 practices culminating in the annual spring game, to be played April 12.

Usually a time filled with hope and excitement, releasing word that Millines had run afoul of the rules was not the way way Beckman wanted to begin his second spring in charge.

"It was something we had to do and for now somebody has to step up and be ready to perform," he said.

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