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Posted on Thu, Oct 28, 2010 : 10:26 a.m.

Eastern Michigan football coach Ron English suspends five players, citing 'poor decisions'

By Jeff Arnold

Ron English doesn't have a lot of rules for his Eastern Michigan football players.

But when the rules he has are broken, there are consequences, which led English to indefinitely suspend five players - including the Eagles leading tackler Tim Fort and senior running back Dwayne Priest, who led Eastern with five touchdowns this season.

English declined to go into specifics of why the players were suspended, saying they broke team rules.

"There are some things you can be lenient about and some things you can't," English said Thursday morning. "But rules are in place for a reason."

The list of suspended players - which included four seniors - involved sophomore linebacker Steve Brown, senior wide receiver Tyrone Burke and senior defensive back Latarrius Thomas.

English said the players will continue to practice and will return when he decides they are ready.


Senior running back Dwayne Priest was one of four Eastern Michigan seniors that were suspended along with sophomore linebacker Steve Brown for violating team rules.

Melanie Maxwell |

Fort, a senior linebacker, leads the Eagles with 68 tackles, four tackles-for-loss and three forced fumbles. Priest has rushed for 378 yards and five touchdowns. Burke is the team's third-leading receiver with 17 catches.

Thomas was expected to make an impact for Eastern this season after transferring from Louisville. But he had only appeared in two games this season, starting both times.

The Eagles (1-7, 1-1 MAC) are scheduled to host Mid-American Conference West Division opponent Toledo Saturday at 4 p.m. in Rynearson Stadium. The Eagles snapped an 18-game losing streak two weeks ago in an overtime win at Ball State. Eastern is an 11-point underdog for Saturday's game.

While the suspended players will be expected to practice and help the team prepare for opponents, English said the most painful part of the punishment - especially for the players - is not being able to play.

"You feel bad for the players, but they have to live with the fact that they let the team down," English said. "These kids are disappointed and the team is disappointed, but we're going to march on. But they made poor decisions and sometimes when you make a poor decision, it affects you."

Jeff Arnold covers sports for and can be reached at (734) 623-2554 or by e-mail at Follow him on Twitter @jeffreyparnold.



Fri, Oct 29, 2010 : 5:15 a.m.

Coach English, thank you for displaying the character missing in so many coaches today. I see that Dantonio is bringing Rucker back to the team after being released from jail yesterday morning. Winning is all that matters. As sad as I am to see this happen right now with a big MAC game coming up, I admire you for making this tough decision. In the long run, these young men need to learn that there are consequences for actions. You are giving them the best life lesson. And while as a fan of EMU I am disappointed for the team and for me, a fan....I am proud of Coach English and proud of EMU.

dading dont delete me bro

Thu, Oct 28, 2010 : 3:27 p.m.

kudos to coach english! now a little interpetation: "...and will return when he decides they are ready." does "they" refer to when the eagles are ready (to win) or when the players are ready?


Thu, Oct 28, 2010 : 2:07 p.m.

Ron English has one of the toughest jobs in college football; turning around a program with a history of losing. It's not just about winning games, it's about building an identity for the players and the football program. Coach English cares about these players as young men first and he knows that it takes committment and personal character to make it all work. Cudos to Coach English for taking the correct path to success by holding these players accountable for their actions.


Thu, Oct 28, 2010 : 11:49 a.m.

apparently all the success the team has had this season has led to players getting cocky and thinking they are bigger than the program... u see it everywhere - Florida, North carolina, Miami... you know - all the successful programs