According to multiple reports including on at Volquest.com, University of Tennessee wide receiver Da'Rick Rodgers has been suspended from the team indefinitely.
The cause of the current suspension is currently unclear, and most reports indicate simply that Rodgers violated team rules. Tennessee head coach Derek Dooley is scheduled to speak to the media at 11:30 eastern time.
UPDATE: 12:30 EST - Tennessee head coach Derek Dooley said in a post-practice press conference that he doesn't anticipate Rodgers will play for Tennessee at all during the 2012 season. He also stated that nothing is set in stone, and that Rodgers wasn't entirely ruled out for the 2012 season and beyond.
UPDATE: 8/27/2012 - As it turns out, Da'Rick Rodgers will be playing football this year after all. However, it won't be as a Tennessee Vol. Numerous reports have surfaced indicating that Rodgers has decided to transfer to Tennessee Tech University, located several hours west of Knoxville.
He should be eligible to play in 2012, althought he's not likely to be ready to play in their first game against Hampton. Rodgers will have the chance to showcase his talent against top level competition on September 15, when TTU will travel to Eugene, Orgegon to face off against the Ducks.
Rodgers is an exceptional talent on the field, but off the field he has been a consistent head ache for coaches. He's been suspended several times during his three year career at Tennessee. Throughout his time as a Vol, rumors have swirled about Rodgers being a prima-donna, lacking respect for coaches, and generally being a "me first" player.
Bruce Feldman reported that late in 2011 Rodgers had a meltdown at a University of Kentucky gym where he "completely crossed the line" with the Tennessee coaches. The meltdown was reportedly a climax in a series of negative episodes involving Rodgers and the coaching staff.
Dooley suspended Rodgers during the offseason, but Rodgers was reinstated to the team during summer practices. Feldman reported that following Rodgers' outburst, many at UT were surprised that Dooley didn't just kick Rodgers off the team all together. Wes Rucker, a Tennessee beat writer, stated on his Twitter account he wasn't sure why Rodgers was still on the team.
On the field Rodgers' talent is clearly at a level where he could have a strong NFL career. Will his off-field behavior keep him from realizing his potential? Talent wise, Rodgers has NFL talent and potentially 1st round ceiling. He was the team's best receiver last year, especially since they lost Justin Hunter for the entire season a year ago. While Hunter was viewed as the higher ceiling, AJ Green potential receiver for this team, Rodgers was set to be the staple of the short and medium range passing game with the explosiveness to still utilize Tyler Bray's big arm.
But these reported "issues" seem to have the most impact on Rodgers in the eyes of NFL scouts. While tangible arrests/concerns are worrisome for NFL teams (like drug use, arrests, etc.) because they show reckless behavior, being a "diva" and having "meltdowns" may worry teams just as much if not more. Young receivers with emotional problems could lead to lack of effort, concerns in the locker room, and not realizing potential. Hopefully Rodgers can realize these issues with this suspension, grow as a man, and get back on the field and in the good graces with the NFL.
In the mean time, with Rodgers out "indefinitely", Tyler Bray will be relying on JUCO receiver Cordarelle Patterson, a highly recruited talent but not nearly as read to make an impact on this team the way Rodgers was going to.