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Jackson Back For UT But Questions Remain

Tennessee’s only representative on this year’s All-SEC team is back from Louisiana and ready for today’s bowl game against North Carolina.  But there are still questions surrounding safety Janzen Jackson.  Like, where’s he been and why has he been there?

Jackson’s father, Lance Guidry, told a Knoxville radio show yesterday that his son is dealing “well” with “serious family issues” that took him away from UT’s bowl preps for more than a week.

Guidry, who is now the interim head football coach at Miami (Ohio), said: “It’s kind of a family situation.  He’s dealing with it well.  He reported to practice.  He’s been staying in touch with the coaches.  We’ve talked every day during the process.  He’s doing well.”

Derek Dooley has not provided details on the nature of Jackson’s week away, saying only that the matter was “very, very personal.”  He also suggested that Jackson might choose to talk about it in the future. 

Not so, says his father.  “I think he’ll keep it quiet,” Guidry said.  “Some things you open up about and other things you don’t.  You kind of keep it within your family.”

Okay, so the player has a private, family issue.  But, as noted, his father is not in Louisiana.  He’s coaching in Ohio.  And Jackson’s mother lives in California.  So perhaps Jackson was in Louisiana to take care of serious family issues in his extended family.

But was that the whole reason he was away from the team?

Jimmy Hyams, who hosts another Knoxville radio show, reported prior to Christmas that Jackson “was involved in a drug-related dorm room incident Dec. 7 but was not arrested or cited.”

Multiple sources have told that the drug in question was marijuana.  Dooley said at the time that his safety had not been suspended from the team.

Jackson has been at the center of controversy since arriving in Knoxville prior to the 2009 season.

In Fall 2009 he was arrested along with two other Vol footballers for his involvement in an attempted armed robbery outside of a Knoxville convenience store.  Jackson was later cleared.

According to Hyams he also went through drug rehab last summer.

And this past July he was present for a melee involving numerous UT football players at a Knoxville bar.  An off-duty Knoxville police officer was beaten to the point of unconsciousness.  Jackson was not cited in that incident.  Tennessee has since reported secondary violations involving free admission of athletes to that bar.
Despite Jackson’s past off-field issues and his recent sabbatical, he will be back on the field for today’s Music City Bowl.  That’s good news for Vol fans who’ve been wondering where their star defender has been.

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