Muschamp told the Orlando Sentinel's Mike Bianchi Thursday that Leonard would still face an indefinite suspension come fall camp, with its length to be decided by the sophomore's "choices and decisions" between now and then.
“But there's gonna be a suspension in the fall, and he's gonna determine how long it's gonna be by how he acts from here to August.”
Muschamp did not specify whether the suspension would cost Leonard any games (though that could be the implication, since a suspension for practice alone would be no different from the one just lifted) or say whether or not Leonard would be allowed to participate in the Gators' spring game, a decision he said was still yet to be made.
Leonard pleaded no contest Wednesday to the misdemeanor domestic battery charges resulting from his February arrest. Leonard's girlfriend told police he had given her a two-handed shove which knocked her into a dog cage, then forcibly dragged her out of the apartment, first by her hair and then by her feet. Police found abrasions on the girlfriend's arms which supported the account.
Leonard was suspended indefinitely following the arrest, spent six weeks apart from the team, and was reinstated to practice last week. Muschamp issued a warning then that Leonard still had plenty of work to do to see the field.
"[He] has been cleared to return to practice only,” Muschamp said in a statement. “He still has a lot of things to work through before his status for the fall is addressed.”
Between that statement and his comments Thursday, Muschamp clearly wants to send the message that just because Leonard is a Gator again doesn't mean everything is hunky-dory; simply issuing Leonard a full pardon after six weeks away wouldn't do much to combat Florida's persistent reputation for lawlessness, one Muschamp has striven to eradicate without much success. (10 player arrests in the space of 16 months will do that.)
So it's true that Muschamp could be bluffing, and we'll all find that a quiet summer and fall camp for Leonard will see him on the field for the Gators' season opener vs. Bowling Green. But for now, we'll give him the benefit of the doubt and assume that the ugliness of Leonard's arrest details will see him miss actual game time in 2012.
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