Daily Buzz: A long road back

Kolton Houston still hasn’t played a regular-season down
for the University of Georgia, but after a tenuous 3-1/2-year
battle with the NCAA, the Bulldogs offensive lineman will finally
be eligible to take the field when the season starts this Fall.

Houston’s journey began in 2010, when the
Buford, Ga., native and son of former Bulldogs linebacker Shane
Houston failed a random drug test shortly after enrolling at
Georgia. The younger Houston was shown to have the anabolic steroid
19-norandrosterone in his system, the presence of which earned him
a suspension.

That suspension was later replaced with the threat a lifetime
ban after failing a second NCAA test, but there was a problem
bigger than a series of failed drug tests. Houston wasn’t
using performance enhancing drugs, and he wasn’t sure why
these tests kept coming up positive.

As it turned out, the positive tests were linked to a
professionally administered steroid injection following surgery
before Houston was ever enrolled at Georgia. The steroid was stuck
in his system — likely a result of poor aim by the doctor who
administered it — with seemingly no way of getting it
out.

For years, Houston and the Bulldogs medical team have contended
that Houston was not using the drug, all while Houston continued to
fail regular drug screenings. And for years — and over the
course of dozens more drug tests — that meant nothing to the
NCAA, so long as the substance was still in his system.

According to ESPN, Houston “tried multiple
methods of getting the drug out of his body through the years,
including an aggressive massage regime, sweat therapy sessions and
even surgery, where doctors removed the fatty tissue where the drug
seemed to be concentrated.” But nothing was providing the quick fix
Houston desired.

Over time, and however slowly, Houston’s steroid levels did
continue to drop — the NCAA limit is 2.5 nanograms per
milliliter of blood, and his original test showed 260 nanograms
— and finally, on Thursday, Houston’s 22nd birthday,
the good news came: He had been granted reinstatement after meeting
the exit threshold in his latest NCAA drug screening.

“This is the best birthday present I’ve ever
had,” Houston
said in a statement. “I had almost
reached the point where I thought this situation would never end.
When I got the call, I broke down and cried for about 30 minutes. I
had that much emotion stored up and it felt good to get it out.
I’m ready now to show what I can do.”

Houston has two years of eligibility left, and could apply for a
third if he so desired. But after three years of working to
overturn a suspension for a steroid he wasn’t taking,
there’s not much reason to believe that will be an easy task,
either.

Now, for some links:

• A Waffle House is
opening inside Turner Field on Friday.

• A-Rod’s new gig —
Maryland slumlord?

• Must be tough being Chris Bosh’s baby:

• So maybe Shaq
isn’t actually mentoring Kings big man
DeMarcus Cousins.

• Andrew Bynum
brought his Don King ‘fro to Cleveland.

• Harrison Barnes dunked on poor, poor Ryan Anderson:

• Derrick Rose says Derrick Rose
is the best player in the NBA.

• When he’s not busy running for mayor of NYC and sexting
women who aren’t his wife, Anthony Weiner is a
beer league hockey goalie.

• This woman is very upset about not getting any Redskins
autographs:

• A newbie anchor fired for an on-air F-bomb during his
first newscast is now
working as a bartender at a beach bar.

• A South Carolina high school baseball coach was
arrested for shoplifting two bats and a glove
from a Wal-Mart.

• Yo, Blake Griffin, this is how you
really jump over a car:

• Is there a
West Point rugby scandal brewing?

• The Tampa Bay Rays and the city of St. Petersburg are
finally
negotiating a stadium exploration deal.

• Check out this awesome choreographed pole vaulting medal
stand routine:

• Mazda is
refurbishing Alfred Morris’ 1991 Mazda
626
.

• Here is the
Notre Dame national championship shirt you
would have seen had the Fightin’ Irish not been steamrolled by
Alabama in January’s BCS title game.

• An AAU team wore “I am Trayvon” shirts to a
tournament in Atlanta:

• Former NBA All-Star Kenny Anderson reveals that he
was sexually abused as a child.

• Metta World Peace says he’s
changing his name again this season.

• Darnell Dockett has a tiger, and he wants to bring it to
training camp:

• Mark Buehrle made quick work of the Astros and flew
through his media session because
he had Tim McGraw tickets.

• Danica Patrick is
dishing on her relationship with fellow driver
Ricky Stenhouse Jr..

• Dane De La Rosa took care of an injured bird during the
Angels game Thursday:

• Grantland has an interesting feature on
the redemption and rebranding of former Auburn
running back Michael Dyer.

• Here are
the full details of Jacob Karam’s touching
moment playing piano for an 11-year-old leukemia patient.

• An independent league shortstop handled a wild ricochet
off of second base to get the out: