Bloomington – The face of the IU football team is back. IU issued a press release Monday afternoon…
DECKER: There's (Finally) Good News in B-town
After months of dealing with the fallout and aftershocks created by the recently uncovered Kelvin Sampson Fault line located beneath Assembly Hall, IU fans finally received some good news Monday from the other side of the parking lot.
Kellen Lewis is back.
IU Coach Bill Lynch made it official that the record-setting quarterback had been reinstated to the team effective immediately. His official "welcome back" comes exactly four weeks before the start of fall camp, which opens Aug. 4.
"Kellen has worked very hard and reached all the benchmarks we set for him," Lynch said in a prepared statement. "He is committed to this football program and is excited to rejoin his teammates. We are happy to welcome him back."
While sources close to the situation have hinted as of late that it was a certainty that Lewis would be back, there was a time when his return was certainly in doubt. After all, he was initially disciplined four months ago (March 6), he missed all of spring ball, and the coaches spoke openly about the need to prepare sophomore Ben Chappell to be the team's No. 1 quarterback.
Also, keep in mind that there were just as many sources close to the program who preached from their insider's pulpit in the spring that Lewis had played his last game in an IU uniform. Whatever his transgressions were, they were such that it was just a matter of time before his suspension became an expulsion.
So how closely did Lewis teeter toward being bounced permanently? That's something that probably only a handful of people know. But I think it's fairly safe to assume that the pocket was collapsing around him, yet he still found a way to avoid having his Hoosier career sacked.
What he does with his second chance is anyone's guess. While his reinstatement is immediate, it goes without saying there won't be any leeway with any other misdeeds going forward. When it comes to his off-the-field activities, he's not a young man who's been flushed from the pocket and now has a bevy of options in front of him. No, another misstep will undoubtedly result in a permanent parting of the ways.
But let's not turn a positive into a negative. There's good news coming out of Bloomington today, and it's that Lewis has avoided having his record-setting Hoosier career derailed. It means that the Big Ten's most dynamic offensive player this fall won't reside in Columbus or Ann Arbor or Iowa City. He'll be playing his football in Bloomington.
And it means that it's safe to expect big things from the football program this fall, including a second straight bowl trip. Forget about what those fellas named Lindy, Athlon and Street and Smith say – Indiana's schedule, experience, depth, and now the return of their quarterback suggest 2008 has a chance to be a whole lot better than 2007.
Yes, I think it's time for IU fans to turn some of those ugghs into ahhs.
Well, at least until the NCAA reconvenes.
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