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Tuesday, September 8, 2009

RB Eric Smith returns to team

AUBURN, Ala. — Auburn running back Eric Smith is back with the team after a 2½-week absence following his arrest for third-degree assault last month, Tigers head coach Gene Chizik said.

" I said that if you see Eric Smith back in an Auburn uniform, you'll know that he did the things that we needed him to do to become a better Auburn man," Chizik said. "And you're going to see him in a uniform this week. And he's done what we asked him to do. And we're going to move on."

Smith, a sophomore, had not been allowed to practice since Aug. 21, when he was arrested in the early morning hours of the parking lot of an area hotel, Police say they saw him strike a student in the back of the head and knock him unconscious.

Smith was booked on disorderly conduct charges and released hours after his arrest, but he surrendered to police Aug. 24. after third-degree charges were filed by the alleged victim.

Smith, who filed a harassment complaint against the student he allegedly struck, is scheduled to appear in Auburn Municipal Court on Nov. 5.

"I think he's a very well-liked member of our football team, and our football team cares about other members of our team," Chizik said. "Nobody wants to see any misfortune happen to any of our players, so they're excited about having him back."

He’s one of my friends so it’s great to be back around him and see a smile back on his face," running back Ben Tate said.

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