Former Tennessee receiver Da'Rick Rogers will be in uniform to start the season on Thursday — a Tennessee Tech uniform.
In less than a week, Rogers has gone from being indefinitely suspended by Tennessee coach Derek Dooley to being the best receiver for Tennessee Tech coach Watson Brown.
But before Rogers stepped on the Tennessee Tech field, the former All-SEC receiver had to issue a mea culpa of sorts to the media. Rogers had a tumultuous two seasons — off the field — at Tennessee, which was capped by an indefinite suspension last week. While several rumors floated around about the reason for the suspension, Rogers decided to clear the air before he started his new career with the Golden Eagles.
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"There were a couple of drug tests," Rogers said at a press conference. "And it was about me being a young, immature guy and those are things that I've got to work on. I plan to do that. When it came to review my next school and I met coach Brown I most definitely felt like he was a guy that could help me with all my things and the situation that I had going on."
Rogers is the second big-name SEC player to announce he has struggled with drugs while playing FBS football. The other is former LSU defensive back Tyrann Mathieu, who decided to forgo the season and enroll in a drug rehab facility.
Rogers felt like the only rehabilitation he needed was a new environment.
Rogers' former high school coach Hal Lamb, whose son Tre is the starting quarterback for the Golden Eagles, encouraged Brown to take a chance on Rogers. Tech starting tailback Adam Urbano also played high school ball with Rogers.
Brown said he consulted with his senior class before adding Rogers to the roster and received their blessing.
Brown wouldn't say whether Rogers will play Thursday, but did say he'll have some things he'll need to prove to continue to be a member of his new team.
"Would I say Da'Rick has got things that he'll have to do more than just the regular players on the team? Yes," Brown said. "But I won't go into those. That's between he and I. That's going to do nothing but help him. If this was my son that had gotten into something that he regretted, then I would love him and be hard on him at the same time and say, 'Let's get through this together and get it corrected.'"
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