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Antonio Morrison still suspended by Florida football even after newest charges dropped

Former Bolingbrook standout will miss games against Toledo, Miami (Fla.)

Published: Wednesday, July 24, 2013 8:57 a.m. CDT • Updated: Thursday, July 25, 2013 8:49 a.m. CDT
Antonio Morrison played in all 13 games for the University of Florida as a freshman in 2012 and finished eighth on the team with 34 tackles, including 27 unassisted tackles. (Photo provided by UF Communications)

GAINSEVILLE, Fla. – University of Florida football head coach Will Muschamp said Wednesday that Antonio Morrison will still be suspended for the Gators' first two games this season.

Morrison, a former Bolingbrook High School standout, was taken into custody in the early morning Sunday after barking at a police dog inside a squad car and resisting arrest. The Florida State Attorney's Office dropped the charges on Tuesday, but Muschamp said he will uphold Morrison's suspension.

“As of now nothing has changed with Antonio’s discipline status," Muschamp said in a statement Wednesday.

Morrison will be suspended from the Gators' first two games of the season, against Toledo on Aug. 31 and Miami (Fla.) on Sept. 7.

Morrison was taken into custody for engaging a K-9 police dog and resisting arrest, but State Attorney Bill Cervone reviewed the case and dropped the charges.

"This dismissal is based on the lack of evidence to warrant, much less legally sustain, those charges and the complete inappropriateness of pursuing court action against Morrison, or anyone else, under the circumstances," Cervone said in a statement.

"The charge of interfering with a police animal requires malice, and none exists. It also requires that the animal be engaged in some official duty, and it cannot be said that sitting in the back of a police cruiser in case he is needed constitutes being engaged in such activity."

Sunday's incident was Morrison's second run-in with the law this summer. He was arrested June 16 and charged with simple battery after punching a nightclub bouncer. He received a six-week deferral in that case, a deal in which he was ordered to stay out of trouble for six weeks. Cervone said Tuesday that the deferral agreement will remain in effect.

"Because his arrest and potential prosecution for this new incident are in my view legally inappropriate, there are no grounds to revoke that agreement," Cervone said.

Morrison played in all 13 games for the Gators as a freshman last season and finished eighth on the team with 34 tackles, including 27 unassisted tackles. Morrison also had two tackles for loss, a quarterback sack and a forced fumble last season.

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