ATHENS – On Tuesday, Sanders Commings met for the media for the first time since his January arrest, and subsequent two-game suspension. The senior defensive back had the option of not facing the press. But he opted to do it.
“You can’t run forever,” he said.
This week Commings is back, and is likely to start at either safety or cornerback as No. 7 Georgia takes on Florida Atlantic. Commings said he was “anxious” to return to the field, after knowing for months he wouldn’t be playing the first two games.
But the hardest part, Commings said, was the hit to his reputation that resulted from his arrest on a misdemeanor domestic battery charge. (The case was eventually settled without further jail time.)
“That was the biggest punishment, what I had to go through off the field, what I put my family through, put the university through, all that,” Commings said. “Missing the games, that was probably the easiest part of the punishment, really.”
The experience after the arrest is something the senior termed a learning experience. He said it taught him he needed to surround himself with "the people who bring out the best in me."
Still, Commings admitted he was “surprised” at the two-game suspension.
“Because, like I said, what really happened, they (the coaches) know what happened,” Commings said. “But anytime a player gets arrested for anything there has to be some suspension.”
Still, as late as last week Commings thought there was a chance he could play at Missouri. Commings said he appealed his two-game suspension, hoping it would be commuted down to one. He found out either Wednesday or Thursday, he couldn’t remember when exactly, that the appeal had been denied.
The nature of the appeal is unclear, because head coach Mark Richt was the one who handed down the suspension. In any case, Commings had to watch the Missouri game at home in Athens, along with former teammate Jeremy Longo.
“I waited too late to appeal it,” Commings said. “It would have been like I was coming back to just to ensure the win against Missouri. Rather than if I had done it months ago in the summer, it would’ve been different.”
As for football, Commings said he was excited for Monday’s walk-through, knowing he was finally a full part of the game planning. Commings’ versatility and experience means he’s virtually certain to roll back into the lineup, perhaps at safety until Bacarri Rambo returns from his suspension. (Which remains of an unknown length.)
“I’ll be bouncing around from safety to boundary (cornerback) to everywhere, really,” Coming said. “Wherever I can help the team.”