Kirby Smart: UGA players arrested after SEC championship remain part of team
ATLANTA -- Two Georgia Bulldogs football players who were arrested hours after the team's SEC Championship victory remain part of the team, coach Kirby Smart said on Monday.
Starting linebacker Natrez Patrick and teammate Jayson Stanley were arrested in the late hours of December 2 in Barrow County.
Stanley was originally charged with DUI possession of marijuana less than one ounce and speeding, going 87 mph in a 65 mph zone. The DUI charge was dropped after, according to Stanley's attorney Kevin Christopher, because there wasn't enough evidence to prove that his client was driving under the influence.
Patrick, who was a passenger in the vehicle, was originally charged with possession of marijuana less than one ounce. That charge was dropped last week. Patrick's lawyer, William Healan, said there just wasn't any evidence against him.
During the Bulldogs' media day on Monday, Smart said that the players are still with the team and eligible to practice for the Rose Bowl game against Oklahoma on Jan. 1. That game is the semifinal in the college football playoffs, with the winner going on to play in the national championship game in Atlanta on Jan. 8.
Multiple reports have indicated that Patrick, who was arrested for alleged marijuana possession in October 2017, failed a drug test given by Athens-Clarke County officials after the Barrow County incident, but passed a drug test administered by UGA. Patrick was tested because an arrest would be a violation of his probation from his second arrest.
Healan did not confirm that Patrick had been charged with probation violation and said that Patrick submitted to a urine test for UGA athletics hours after bonding out of Barrow County Jail. The results, which Healan provided in a statement to 11Alive, tested negative for all drugs.
The attorney would not say that Patrick was charged with probation violation citing confidentiality of probation records, but did say that a probation violation was not a violation of UGA's substance abuse policy. As such, Patrick should remain part of the team, Healan said. A probation hearing is set for January, Healan said.
"As the University of Georgia Athletic Association is required to follow this policy, Natrez Patrick should remain a member of the University of Georgia football team," he said.
Smart said that failed drug test was a separate issue from the original arrest and will be handled.
"I think for us, which I'm not allowed to talk much about this subject because a lot of it is confidential, and you've got to respect his confidentiality," Smart said. "I have a lot of respect for Natrez as a person, a student, a student-athlete. He's done a lot of good things along with his mistakes. I think for us and for me I can't sit here and outline and define everything that's happened because of his confidentiality and for the kid's sake. So with that, there is not a lot I can talk about in that situation. It's limited.”
Patrick was also detained by police in 2016 after a resident assistant smelled marijuana in a dormitory, and was arrested in Nov. 2015 on another marijuana charge.
In another Bulldogs' player legal matter, Smart said that Latavious Brini's case was still in the courts, and that he would provide more information after that process. The freshman was arrested on forgery charges last week.
Running back Sony Michel told 11Alive Sports' Kim Smith that the team has a "brotherhood" and said they hold each other up during trying times.
The Bulldogs have a chance to win the team's first national championship since 1980.