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Alabama suspends Outland Trophy winner

Dec. 29, 2008 at 6:39 PM   |   Comments

MOBILE, Ala., Dec. 29 (UPI) -- The University of Alabama has reportedly suspended junior offensive lineman and Outland Trophy winner Andre Smith for the Sugar Bowl.

The Mobile Press-Register reported on its Web site Monday that Smith -- who this month took home the Outland Trophy as the nation's top interior lineman -- would not play Friday for once-beaten, fourth-ranked Alabama (12-1) against unbeaten, seventh-ranked Utah (12-0).

Citing sources, ESPN.com said the suspension was related to improper dealings Smith may have had with an agent.

"Andre Smith has been suspended from participating in the Sugar Bowl due to a violation of team rules and policies," the newspaper quoted Alabama Coach Nick Saban.

"The University of Alabama, the team and the football program are more important than any individual player," the statement said. "Everyone on our team depends on each other to be responsible to make good choices and decisions relative to their actions. "Andre Smith has done an outstanding job in our program as a person, student and a player." Saban continued, "and we will do all we can as an institution to support him in all future endeavors."

Left guard Mike Johnson was practicing Monday at left tackle, Smith's normal spot, and sophomore David Ross was to take over at left guard, ESPN.com said.

© 2008 United Press International, Inc. All Rights Reserved. Any reproduction, republication, redistribution and/or modification of any UPI content is expressly prohibited without UPI's prior written consent.
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