Memphis players vote to play game against Marshall

Updated: October 1, 2007, 9:10 PM ET
Associated Press

MEMPHIS, Tenn. -- After a day of mourning the death of teammate Taylor Bradford, the Memphis Tigers will take on Marshall as planned Tuesday night.

"There's going to be a 3½-hour block where we have to have our minds on business, as hard as it is," Memphis coach Tommy West said.

Bradford, a 21-year-old defensive lineman, was shot to death Sunday night, approximately three hours after Memphis finished practice. West met with athletic director R.C. Johnson before letting the team vote Monday morning on whether to play the scheduled game against Marshall.

The decision was unanimous.

"I think we've got to do a good job with them," West said "They know that they made that decision. Can we do that? We'll see. I don't know."

The university is providing counselors for the Tigers, who stayed together Monday night. West said the players asked to be left alone to grieve Bradford, who was popular with teammates and fellow students.

"Our hearts and prayers go out to the young man's family and the Memphis community for this tragedy," Marshall officials said in a statement. "It's just a terrible circumstance. We hope the best for them through a tough time."

Bradford, a nose guard, had recently lost 25 pounds with the hope of earning playing time by switching to fullback.

A moment of silence will be observed before Tuesday's game, which will be aired on ESPN2 at 8 p.m.

"This to me is the most tragic way that you could ever lose a teammate," West said. "There was no reason for this."

Copyright 2007 by The Associated Press