GAINESVILLE, Fla. - Florida linebacker Antonio Morrison apologized Wednesday for "getting in trouble the past few weeks," but declined to discuss details of his two arrests or what he had to do as punishment.
Morrison is suspended for Saturday's season opener against Toledo. Coach Will Muschamp initially suspended the starting middle linebacker for at least two games, but reduced it to one game Monday.
"First off, I want to apologize for getting in trouble the past few weeks," Morrison said. "It's sincere for me. I apologize to my coaches, my teammates and everybody for everything that went wrong. It's behind me. I'm moving forward from it. I learned from it. I just want to play football."
Morrison will be eligible to play Sept. 7, when the 10th-ranked Gators play at Miami.
The sophomore from Bolingbrook, Ill., is expected to be one of Florida's top defenders this season.
The Gators can only hope he's better at tackling than apologizing. He failed to come across as sincere or remorseful during an 8-minute session with reporters Wednesday. He brushed aside many questions, seemed defiant during some answers and even had a huge tattoo on his right arm that read "Don't Trust Me."
"I'm not fixin' to run from y'all," he said. "I want this to be done with. I'm coming and telling y'all right now. Any of y'all interview me after this, I don't want to talk about it. I already discussed this with y'all. It's football from here on out. We talking football."
All the recent talk about Morrison centered on two arrests during a five-week stretch this summer.
He was arrested June 16 for allegedly punching a bouncer, an incident in which he reportedly told the victim "I am Antonio" before he punched him. Morrison received deferred prosecution on the simple battery charged, a deal in which he was ordered to stay out of trouble for six months.
He was jailed again on July 20 and charged with barking at a police dog and resisting arrest. Both charges were dismissed a few days later.
According to the Alachua County Sheriff's Office, Morrison walked up to an open window on a police car around 2:30 a.m. and barked at a K-9 named Bear. The dog barked back, leading a deputy to arrest Morrison for interfering with a police canine.
"I learned a lot," he said. "I took responsibility for everything. I just learned a lot from the whole situation as a person."
Morrison declined to say what he was ordered to do as punishment and refused to divulge anything Muschamp told him about being our late or getting in trouble.
"I ain't going to get into detail what I did," Morrison said. "But the whole situation, overall, that sent a message to me. And I learned from the situations overall, and I apologize again. I'm very sorry to all the Gator fans, my coaches, my teammates. That's me. That's not me being forced to do this. I wanted to come do this. I can't run from it, you know what I'm saying?"
Muschamp missed the first eight days of fall practice before being partially reinstated.
"Worst part was being away from my teammates and not being around football," he said. "I mean, what else am I supposed to do? Me missing practice, that's a lot to me. Me missing those days in camp, that's a lot to me. So it's hard."
Nonetheless, when asked whether he has changed anything about his social life, Morrison scoffed.
"I take responsibility for being out," he said. "I said that. I'm really sorry for that. I take responsibility for the whole situation."
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