UGA linebackers pass drug test after admitted use, Smart stands by strict policy

Kirby Smart on UGA's strict substance abuse policy

ATHENS, Ga. -- Marijuana is not considered to be as taboo as it once was. Georgia head coach Kirby Smart acknowledged that at his weekly press conference on Monday by saying society is changing.

But he said he stands by and believes in the University's drug policy, which is more strict that most in the SEC.

After the team’s loss to Vanderbilt, Bulldog linebackers Roquan Smith and Natrez Patrick were detained by police after a resident assistant at their dorm smelt marijuana. Campus police determined it was coming from the defensive players' dorm. There was not a testable amount for an arrest, but Patrick admitted they had used a tea can to store marijuana in the past. There were items associated with the drug's use and gutted tobacco from cigars, according to police.

The players were not arrested.

On Monday, Georgia released a statement that Smith and Patrick would not be suspended after passing a drug test last week.

“After receiving an incident report last week, we determined that neither Roquan Smith nor Natrez Patrick had violated any Athletic Association rules that would require suspension.  This included drug testing, which was negative for both student-athletes," Athletic Director Greg McGarity said in the statement.

Smart said on Monday he was happy for the two players who he sees as budding leaders.

“They get to move on to football and not have to move on with a distraction. I will say that on the field both these young men have been exemplarily leaders, especially for sophomores. I think I've mentioned before that Natrez and Roquan have just started to be vocal ever since the Ole Miss game, which is tough when you're a sophomore because you're in the bottom half of the leadership. And those kids have done that, and they've done a good job of being leaders,” Smart said.

Patrick was suspended in 2015 for violating the team's substance abuse policy. According to the University's student athlete handbook, Patrick would have been suspended for "no less than 30 percent of the total sport season" after a second violation of the policy.

“Since November 2015, I have dedicated myself to moving forward. I'm blessed to have done that despite hurdles I've had to clear. This incident was simply another hurdle and I was confident I would successfully clear it. I'll continue to move forward and I'm anxious to play on Saturday," Patrick said in a statement.

“As a student at the University of Georgia and a member of the football team, I take this opportunity very seriously. I have followed the rules of the Athletic Association and I am happy this situation has been rightfully resolved. I look forward to representing my school and my team on Saturday in Jacksonville," Smith said.

Smith is the No. 2 tackler for the team after seven games with 39 total tackles. Patrick is the team's leading tackler with 42.

PHOTOS | UGA vs. Vandy


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