PISCATAWAY, N.J. (AP) Rutgers receiver Leonte Carroo returned to practice Thursday, two days after criminal charges against him were dropped, and said he is well aware of how lucky he is to be back on the football field.
Coach Kyle Flood reinstated Carroo on Wednesday, a day after a judge dismissed simple assault charges filed against him when he was accused of attacking a woman he used to date during a fight following a game Sept. 12.
A Piscataway municipal court judge dismissed the charges against Carroo on Tuesday when the woman said she didn’t want to testify against him. That came hours after another judge lifted a temporary restraining order because the woman said she didn’t think it was necessary.
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”This was a very serious matter and I don’t take any of this for granted, and I’m just blessed to be back out here,” Carroo said. ”After speaking with my family and friends and teammates, I understand that this is a blessing and I am very lucky and fortunate.”
Carroo declined to go into details about the incident. There are still simple assault charges pending against the woman and others apparently involved in the fight, including Carroo’s girlfriend and mother.
”This situation was an unfortunate event. It’s not something I’m going to get into. The people that know me and was there from Day 1 knows what happened, so everybody that has judged me on my character doesn’t really know the story,” Carroo said. ”But my coaches and my teammates and my family knows what happened and that’s what’s important.”
The statement announcing his reinstatement said that Carroo agreed to undisclosed conditions to return to the team. Carroo did not divulge what those conditions were, saying it was between him, Flood and athletic director Julie Hermann.
”I’m going to take those conditions seriously to make sure that they’re well in effect and I’m going to use it as an opportunity to get better from them,” Carroo said.
In an unrelated matter, Flood was suspended for three games and fined $50,000 for improperly contacting an instructor regarding a grade of one of the players.
Carroo, a 6-foot-1, 215-pound senior captain, returns just in time for Rutgers (2-2, 0-1 Big Ten) to host No. 4 Michigan State (5-0, 1-0 Big Ten) on Saturday night.
”He’ll play at full speed. … He ran some plays and he was running well,” interim head coach Norries Wilson said. ”He did a good job keeping himself in shape while he was away, so we’ll assess him again tomorrow to see how much we can put on his plate for Saturday.”
Although he missed the installation of the game plan, Wilson is confident Carroo will be up to speed mentally.
”This was a very unfortunate event,” Carroo said. ”So for me to back out here practicing today, to be able to play in an eight-game stretch, I’m very excited about.”