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September 13, 2005

Penn State linebacker cleared to practice again

STATE COLLEGE, Pa. - While Penn State linebacker Dan Connor is welcome again at practice after serving a university punishment for allegedly making harassing phone calls, coach Joe Paterno squelched questions Tuesday about the sophomore's status with the team.

''Forget Connor. I'm not telling anything. I don't know what I'm going to do,'' Paterno said. ''I haven't gotten the slightest idea. ... honest.''

Connor, last year's second-leading tackler, had received a 10-day ''deferred expulsion'' from the university's Office of Judicial Affairs last Thursday for violating a section of Penn State's Code of Conduct about harassing phone calls, the school had said.

Connor has been taking classes, but wasn't allowed to participate in extracurricular activities until after Sunday. Now, he's allowed to practice, but he can't play in a game until after Sunday - meaning he will miss at least Saturday's game against Central Michigan.

Connor performed 10 of 20 hours of community service and wrote an apology letter to the alleged victim of the calls, who is a retired assistant coach, school spokesman Bill Mahon said.

Because of that, the university allowed Connor to again take part in team activities. The linebacker is still on probation with the school through May 2007.

While Connor can practice again, his status on the team is still unclear. Connor had been suspended indefinitely by Paterno after details of the alleged calls emerged last month. He didn't play in Penn State's first two games, though he had been working with the scout team.

At his news conference on Tuesday, Paterno cut off reporters asking about Connor. He said he had not read any decision by Judicial Affairs.

''He's going to show up to practice today and then we will go on from there,'' Paterno said.

For more coverage of the Penn State Nittany Lions, check out BlueWhiteIllustrated.com.


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