Lewis Suspended For Kent State

Iowa Head Coach Kirk Ferentz announced Sunday that star running back Jermelle Lewis would be held out of the season opener, Sept. 4, for a violation of team rules. Said Ferentz: "It's certainly not something that I'm real pleased about right now. It seems like we don't go through camps or get through a summer period with 100 percent tranquility."

Kirk Ferentz announcement of Jermelle Lewis suspension after Sunday's practice:

On a more serious note, and I'll end with this, I'm going to have to suspend Jermelle Lewis. It's certainly not something that I'm real pleased about right now. It seems like we don't go through camps or get through a summer period with 100 percent tranquility.

Basically in a nutshell, Jermelle made a bad decision. It's certainly very disappointing, especially with him being a senior. I think he knows that. I've shared my feeling with him.

Obviously, I consider this to be serious. It's a violation of team policy. To merit a game suspension, obviously it's pretty serious.

He'll be suspended for a game. If he weren't a starter or a high profile player I wouldn't even share it with you. But obviously his absence would be noticed.

What it comes down to at this point, again, with him being a senior it's a little bit disappointing. He's damaged his respect level and credibility with this football team. That's probably the biggest concern.

I am confident that he's going to learn from this and move on and do a good job the rest of the year. But any time you go through something like this, he's got some proving to do right now to all of us. He's aware of that, and he's up to the challenge.

We'll watch that situation real closely. But obviously that's a disappointing announcement that I've got to make.

Q&A:

So, it's just a one game and a done deal?

Well, I'm telling you what you're going to see. But like a lot of suspensions, there's more involved. We'll have community service and some other tasks for him to accomplish.

As long as he does that, it's history. I expect him to take the consequences, accept those, do a good job with them and then we're moving on.

We're going to look at things a little closer, that's all. I think you know how I feel about that. When we talk about upper classmen, there's a little bit more responsibility and accountability that's involved than maybe with a younger player.

So, he's really got to do a great job here between now and the end of the season. I'm confident that he will, but that's the chore that's out there for him.

Did he break a law?

No, he didn't break a law. You'd probably know about it. That's safe to say, right? I know you don't miss too much.

What did he do?

I'm not going to say other than violating team policy. I'm going to leave that at that.

Was it within the last 24-48 hours?

I'm not going to say anything specifically about when it happened or what other than if we didn't consider it serious than this wouldn't be happening.

It's not an academic issue?

Nah. Academically, he's under a full term from graduation. We went down that road once.

At this point, it's the end of August. He's still got the opportunity for 10 scheduled games. More importantly, he's got a chance to get his degree.

What really counts in my mind right now is what he does from this point on in actions, not in words and all of that. Words are important, too, but the actions are really important.

Will he go back to No.1 when he comes back or is that to be determined?

You know, I haven't thought that out totally. I would assume. I haven't given it great thought.

Geez, we had a little controversy on that one a couple of years ago.

We'll just play that one as we go. He's still a talented player. He's still a good person and all of that. We're not ready to throw dirt on him. But he's got work to do and that might be one of the circumstances.

Does Marcus move to No. 1 then?

Well, it's Marcus and Albert. They're both doing a great job. We'll probably make that determination right before the Kent State; that week or even on game day.

I can say this, all of us have confidence in both players. But it is a little bit disturbing. We're down two players right now that happen to be at the same position in that game. That's not the perfect world there.

JERMELLE LEWIS Q&A:

What happened to you?

I just got in a little bit of trouble. I broke some team rules that I'm really not proud of. I did some things wrong and it's time to move forward and get everything going.

As a team leader, how do you rectify this and tell the guys following you that you messed up?

I guess just being up front with them; being honest; just accepting the fact that I did something wrong because everybody makes mistakes; and just pretty much be a man about it; and just keep moving forward.

What did you do?

That's really irrelevant for right now. Just know that I broke some team rules and we're going to deal with it as it comes along.

This is probably not the way that you wanted to start the season.

Not at all. I don't think anybody wants to start the season getting suspended for the first game. But like I said, some things got done wrong that we're supposed to be done and I have to be a man and take on the responsibility of becoming one.

What do you think you'll have to do to get back in the good graces with Coach?

Just to continue to keep doing what I've been doing without messing up and stuff like that; Just find a way to gain my respect back; Just come out every day doing things right; giving 110 percent and continuing to be a leader; just being able to bounce back from this.

Have you talked to your teammates about what happened?

I talked to the majority of the team about it. We're going to put it out there as a whole so everybody knows about it at one time. We'll deal with it like that.

When did you find out about it?

Me and Coach Ferentz, we had our conversations about it.

Today? Last night?

That's really irrelevant, too.

How did the conversation go?

Coach Ferentz and I have a mutual respect. He told me what he thought about the situation. I respect that. I told him my side of the situation and he respects my side of the situation.

But things were done wrong. And my one-game suspension, that's what I'm going to have to do.

So, you didn't do anything illegal?

Oh no. There were no laws broken.

Were you a little scared that Coach Ferentz was going to cut you loose?

Kind of. It's like telling your mother that did something wrong. But it's something that I had to do. Just by being a man, I've got to go talk to the person in charge. You've got to handle it like that.

Is this part of your punishment having to come over and talk to (the media)?

It depends on what you guys do with it.

You probably didn't want to wear those ugly jerseys anyway, did you?

I was dying to wear those ugly jerseys.


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