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Georgia's A.J. Green gets four-game suspension from NCAA


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Georgia loses WR A.J. Green for three more games

Dave Curtis

Sporting NewsSporting News

The NCAA has deemed Georgia wide receiver A.J. Green ineligible for the Bulldogs' next three games -- all against SEC foes -- after finding he sold a game-worn jersey for $1,000 to a person that meets the association's definition of an agent.

Georgia athletic director Greg McGarity said in a statement school officials will appeal the suspension, which would cost the Bulldogs their top playmaker against at South Carolina on Saturday, next weekend against Arkansas, and Sept. 25 at Mississippi State.

Green's suspension now is four games. He was held out of the Bulldogs' Sept. 4 opener.

Coach Mark Richt said in a Tuesday press conference that his team's effort won't slip without Green.

"This team will practice its tail off and try to win, no matter who's playing," he told reporters in Athens, Ga. "I can promise you that."

For Georgia fans, the good news is the Bulldogs offense shouldn't look paralyzed Saturday afternoon in Columbia. The Dogs' receiving corps received a boost last weekend from the return of 6-5 Kris Durham. Durham, who missed all of last season with a shoulder injury, filled Green's flanker role in the starting lineup Saturday against Louisiana-Lafayette. He finished with five catches for 83 yards -- both team highs -- and a touchdown.

This week marks the return of sophomore Tavarres King, who served a suspension Saturday in connection with an offseason arrest. King is expected to start at split end against South Carolina and should make a significant leap from the 18 catches and 377 yards he had as a redshirt freshman.

The Bulldogs also will feature tight end Orson Charles as a receiver and lean on a run game featuring backs Caleb King and Washaun Ealy (who also returns from a one-game suspension). Those players can all help settle freshman quarterback Aaron Murray, who makes his first SEC road start, as well as defensive transitioning to a 3-4 scheme.

Richt was unavailable for interviews after the NCAA's announcement about Green's status. But on Wednesday's SEC coaches teleconference, he conceded there's no secret about the significance of this conference opener. Saturday's winner becomes the top candidate to end Florida's two-year run atop the conference's East Division.

"We all know if you win early, you gain momentum and confidence hopefully stay in the race," Richt said. "If you lose, all of a sudden, you begin to have to rely on somebody else to beat the team that just beat you."

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