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FLORIDA QB DROPS, TOO; SPURRIER SUSPENDS JOHNSON.

Byline: Associated Press

In the aftermath of defending national champion Florida falling from No. 1 to No. 7 in the AP poll, Florida quarterback Doug Johnson has been suspended for Saturday's game at Auburn, coach Steve Spurrier said Wednesday.

``He violated a team rule last week, so he will sit this one out,'' Spurrier said.

Spurrier would not say what rule the sophomore broke, but Johnson's father, contacted by The Associated Press, said it was because of a curfew violation before last week's game at LSU.

Johnson threw four interceptions, including one returned for the go-ahead touchdown in a 28-21 loss at Baton Rouge, La.

Spurrier did not find out about the violation until Tuesday, said Johnson's father, Doug.

``Evidently, someone came forth and said they had seen him out after curfew,'' the father said.

Freshman Jesse Palmer or fifth-year senior Noah Brindise will start for Gators, suddenly an underdog against the No. 6 Tigers. Spurrier said Johnson would not practice the rest of this week.

Johnson threw four interceptions, including one returned for a touchdown, in the Gators' loss last weekend at LSU that dropped Florida from the top of the rankings.

``I made a mistake and I plan on paying the consequences,'' Johnson said in a statement released by the university. ``Hopefully, I can come back as a smarter player. This is going to make me look at things differently. It will probably help me in the long run.''

Miami loses receiver: Senior tight end Chris Jones' football career is over due to a spinal condition that could have proved fatal during play, Miami coach Butch Davis said.

Jones, 6-foot-2 and 242 pounds, finished his 36-game career with 21 receptions for 249 yards and four touchdowns. Jones started all five games this season, catching two passes for 27 yards.

Doctors found his condition during an X-ray to determine why the 22-year-old was experiencing numbness in his arms during games. Jones could have died had he been tackled with enough force, according to team doctor John Uribe.

Davis said the Hurricanes will start redshirt freshman Daniel Franks at tight end Saturday against Boston College and sophomore Mondriel Fulcher is also expected to see extensive playing time.

Landmark decision due: Almost 23 years ago, Alvis Kent Waldrep, Jr. broke his neck and was left paralyzed while playing for Texas Christian University.

Today, Waldrep is at the center of a lawsuit that could forever change the relationship between colleges and their student athletes.

He is suing TCU's insurance carrier for worker's-compensation benefits, saying he was an employee who should get lifetime benefits for a debilitating injury suffered while on the job.

A state agency already has sided with Waldrep. But TCU's earlier insurance company has refused to pay, forcing the 43-year-old Waldrep back into court.

Waldrep, who raises funds for spinal-cord-injury research, said the case isn't about the money, even though he has incurred more than $250,000 in medical costs.

``It's time that college athletics take care of the kids who make it all possible,'' Waldrep said before jury selection began Wednesday for his trial in Austin, Tex., which is expected to last four days.

``The only way this is worth going through is to change the NCAA.''

Waldrep's injury came in a 41-3 TCU loss at Alabama in 1974 on a sweep play late in the second quarter. Waldrep, carrying the ball, was forced toward the sideline where an attempted tackle by a Crimson Tide defender sent the running back flying.

CAPTION(S):

Photo

Photo: Florida quarterback Doug Johnson, right, didn't help coach Steve Spurrier's headache last week in a loss to LSU.

Associated Press
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No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 1997, Gale Group. All rights reserved. Gale Group is a Thomson Corporation Company.

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Title Annotation:SPORTS
Publication:Daily News (Los Angeles, CA)
Date:Oct 16, 1997
Words:606
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