Georgia's top 2 tacklers cleared following marijuana investigation

Dr. Saturday
Georgia linebacker <a class="link rapid-noclick-resp" href="/ncaaf/players/252681/" data-ylk="slk:Natrez Patrick">Natrez Patrick</a> (6) leads the team with 42 tackles. (AP Photo/Brett Davis)
Georgia linebacker Natrez Patrick (6) leads the team with 42 tackles. (AP Photo/Brett Davis)

Two Georgia linebackers have been cleared to play against Florida on Saturday.

Roquan Smith and Natrez Patrick, the team’s two leading tacklers, will not be suspended after they were investigated for possession of marijuana. The two were detained Oct. 15 after a resident assistant reported the smell of marijuana coming from their dorm room in the hours after the Bulldogs’ loss to Vanderbilt. Neither player was arrested.

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UGA athletic director Greg McGarity said both players passed drug tests.

“After receiving an incident report last week, we determined that neither Roquan Smith nor Natrez Patrick had violated any Athletic Association rules that would require suspension,” McGarity said in a statement. “This included drug testing, which was negative for both student-athletes.”

Police did not find marijuana in the dorm room. Patrick said the two were smoking Black & Mild cigars.

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From The Macon Telegraph:

Police searched the dorm room and found confiscated the following objects: A bottle of Arizona strawberry iced tea with a hidden compartment Patrick said was used to hold marijuana when he’s been in possession of it in the past, a green “smoke buddy” to help mask the smell of marijuana, tobacco gutted from Black ‘N Mild cigars, several lighters and towels that were pushed up against door cracks.

Patrick was previously arrested for marijuana possession last year along with ex-Georgia defensive lineman Chauncey Rivers. Patrick was also in a vehicle that was pulled over during another marijuana arrest for Rivers. Patrick was not arrested in that incident.

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“Since November 2015, I have dedicated myself to moving forward. I’m blessed to have done that despite hurdles I’ve had to clear,” Patrick said in a statement. “This incident was simply another hurdle and I was confident I would successfully clear it. I’ll continue to move forward and I’m anxious to play on Saturday.”

This is Smith’s first incident with police during his time at Georgia.

“As a student at the University of Georgia and a member of the football team, I take this opportunity very seriously,” Smith said in statement. “I have followed the rules of the Athletic Association and I am happy this situation has been rightfully resolved. I look forward to representing my school and my team on Saturday in Jacksonville, (Florida).”

Patrick and Smith both start at linebacker for the Bulldogs. Patrick leads the team with 42 tackles and Smith is second with 39.

UGA and Florida are both coming off byes heading into Saturday’s matchup at EverBank Field in Jacksonville. Georgia is 4-3 on the season while Florida is 5-1.

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Sam Cooper is a writer for the Yahoo Sports blogs. Have a tip? Email him or follow him on Twitter!

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