Spikes takes himself out of Vandy game

Updated: November 5, 2009, 11:43 AM ET
By Joe Schad | ESPN

Florida linebacker Brandon Spikes made a 19-second statement to reporters in Gainesville on Wednesday night, announcing he will effectively suspend himself for the entire Vanderbilt game for his attempted eye gouge of a Georgia player.

"I really don't want to be a distraction to the team," Spikes said. "I want the guys to prepare without any negative things going on. I feel like if I would play, it would be a big thing. I'm just trying to stay out of the way and just motivate the guys. I'm pretty sure Stamper's my back and my teammates really support me on this decision."

Florida coach Urban Meyer said Spikes approached he and defensive coordinator Charlie Strong Tuesday night and they made a collective decision. "We support Brandon fully," Meyer said.

"Alot of the negative things out there are really weighing heavy on his heart right now," Meyer said. "As a group, we decided in the best interest just for the team to not play him Sat. It's a group decision. We're doing it out of respect for our team so we can focus on trying to win our ninth game. We think it's the right thing to do."

Meyer had faced some criticism for only suspending his All-American linebacker for only the first half the Vandy game. The Southeastern Conference accepted the original punishment.

Spikes stuck his hand into the facemask of Georgia's Washaun Ealey during Florida 41-17 victory against the Bulldogs last week. There was no penalty called at the time, but Meyer went back and looked at the play of tape and decided to punish Spikes.

Information from the Associated Press was used in this report

Joe Schad

College Football

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