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MIAMI - OCTOBER 25: Wide receiver Sam Shields #83 of the Miami Hurricanes looks for room to run while taking on the Wake Forest Demon Decons at Dolphin Stadium on October 25, 2008 in Miami, Florida. Miami defeated Wake Forest 16-10. (Photo by Doug Benc/Getty Images)
Before you get all excited about The U being back, we should remind you up front: Sam Shields isn't on the football team at Miami anymore. But the senior cornerback did get arrested Thursday night in Sarasota, his hometown, and charged with a misdemeanor for possession of marijuana less than 20 grams.
Exact details of the arrest aren't available yet, as Sarasota County's computer entry system was down (later, the cat ate its paper records). But Tom Semmons, a booking technician with the Sheriff's Office, told the Miami Herald that Shields had been booked into the Sarasota County Jail, had attended his first court appearance, a bond hearing, at 1 p.m. on Friday, and was in the process of being released on his own recognizance late Friday afternooon.
Were he still on the team instead of looking forward to next week's UM Pro Day workout for NFL scouts, Shields would find himself in his old stomping grounds: Randy Shannon's doghouse. The former wideout was suspended or benched multiple times in his first few years under Shannon, at least once for skipping class and another for not doing "the right things."
It was a case, it seemed, of a player having all the right tools -- smart enough to make the All-Academic ACC team his freshman year, fast enought to run a 4.2 40-yard dash -- but not, perhaps the discipline.
“Florida State is not holding back Sam Shields," then-receivers coach Marquis Mosley said in 2007. "Oklahoma is not holding back Sam Shields. Texas A&M is not holding back Sam Shields. Sam Shields is holding back Sam Shields. If Sam can get out of his own way, he will be a great football player.”
Shields seemingly did get out of his own way in time for one final season and a crack a new position where he might increase his chances at playing in the NFL. He started 10 out of 12 games at cornerback last season and was sixth on the team in tackles, and isn't known to have been in any trouble.
Expected to try his hand at the league as either a very late-round pick or an undrafted free agent, Shields can at least comfort himself with the knowledge that any future NFL employer is probably less concerned with a little pot possession and more stymied as to how one actually gets oneself arrested for it.