That is no longer the case.
Speaking about his star defensive lineman at Monday’s press conference, Ohio State head coach Urban Meyer said that the all-Big Ten player was now more focused on recovery than football.
“He's getting full-time treatment. He is working out just for his well-being,” Meyer said. “I've been criticized for many years about (the fact that) I treat these guys like they're my kid. I'm not a big fan of dismissal. I just don't do that very often. It's got to be a severe one, where you're hurting someone else.
“What the future holds for Noah, I have no idea, but to throw him to the street, I didn't feel like that was appropriate just yet. And we're going to do the best we can to help a guy that was a Academic All-Big Ten, good student, great family, that has a problem, and it's our job to help him, and I don't think you will ever see our staff ever do that, say you're out, in that kind of situation. Unfortunately sometimes it's not our decision.”
Even though he’s not practicing, he’s still interacting with his teammates. Junior linebacker Joshua Perry said that Spence has had “a decent amount” of contact with his peers in recent days.
“Guys will go out of their way to say hi to him or visit him at his apartment,” Perry said. “I think it’s the right thing to do. We’ve got a group of guys, especially on our defense, who care a lot about him, so we want to be there to help him.”
Although it appears unlikely Spence will be able to suit up for the Buckeyes this season, he’s received plenty of support from his teammates who are concerned about him and want to help him.
“This is the time where you have to surround him with people who care and you can't abandon him,” Perry said. “I think guys on our team understand that he's dealing with a very tough thing in his life and we're going to get him help. To be around him, I think, has really made a difference. Guys are looking after him. You put an arm around him and you try to help him. It’s the most positive thing you can do.
“Going through something like that, I couldn't imagine. He has a lot to deal with and he has a lot on his plate and people are saying some negative things about him and he realizes it. But when he's surrounded by us and he gets around people he knows care, I think he becomes a little bit of different person knowing he has these guys around him.”