Syracuse receiver Marcus Sales has been suspended from the team indefinitely after he was arrested for drug possession last week.
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”When there’s further information, I will definitely let you know. I’ve always done that. That’s my policy,” coach Doug Marrone said at Friday’s media day. ”We have a legal process that everything has to go through. We also have a judicial process that everything has to go through.”
Sales and his brother, Michael Sales Jr., were pulled over July 29 for running a red light in Syracuse. Police found an open container of alcohol, several bags of marijuana and a bag of painkilling pills. Several digital scales were also found.
Both are facing charges of criminal possession of a controlled substance, criminally using drug paraphernalia and unlawful possession of marijuana.
The brothers appeared in court Thursday, but will remain free while their charges are pending.
Sales was expected to start for the Orange, who are coming off their first winning season since 2001. He had 26 catches for 414 yards and four touchdowns last year.
The Orange will also start preseason practice without backup running back Prince-Tyson Gulley, who is recovering from being stabbed in his back and arms during a brawl at an on-campus party. Marrone said Gulley will need seven to 10 days before he can fully participate.
”We need all our focus and attention from our football team on what we do out here on the football field and on the players that are here,” Marrone said. ”The more distractions we have, the more it takes away from us being a good football team.”
In Marrone’s second season as coach at his alma mater, the Orange went 8-5 and won a bowl game (a 36-34 victory against Kansas State in the Pinstripe Bowl).
Syracuse has a senior starter at quarterback in Ryan Nassib and running back Antwon Bailey to lead the offense. The Orange will be looking for my big plays out of its offense late in games, a problem for most of last season but not in the bowl game.
”It’s not only me, or the receivers, but the whole offense,” Nassib said. ”It’s something we worked on this summer, specifically, and we have to make sure we’re comfortable with it going into the season, so when the situations come for big plays, Coach feels comfortable to call them.”
Syracuse lost several key players from a defense that ranked second in the Big East in yards allowed, including linebackers Derrell Smith and Doug Hogue.
Marrone said the loss of leadership is his biggest concern.
The Orange will start the season with Dan Vaughan, Marcus Spruill and Dyshawn Davis as its starting linebackers.
For the first time in years, expectations are high at Syracuse heading into a season.
”And our goal for the football team, make no mistake about it, is being able to compete for a Big East championship,” Marrone said. ”We have a philosophy that we never start where we left off. We always have to start from the beginning.”