Guerin Emig reported today in the Tulsa World that there is more to Oklahoma running back Keith Ford’s story than meets the eye. It was reported Monday, that the junior had been suspended from the team indefinitely for violation of academic and team rules.
Ford’s parents issued this statement:
“Although we respect the decision of Coach Stoops to suspend our son from the football team the actions that prompted this decision were uncharacteristic of our son’s behavior. We believe Keith never recovered completely (physically and/or mentally) from the injury that occurred in the Tennessee game. After speaking with several medical professionals we found that this is not uncommon among athletes after suffering an extensive injury. Therefore, we brought this to the attention of Coach Stoops and the OU Staff and they are actively engaged in helping Keith. When Coach Stoops told us “I will never shut a kid out” he solidified our complete trust and confidence in the OU program. We are praying for the return of Keith Ford #21.”
-Keith and Mary Ford
Keith Ford Sr., Ford’s father, agreed to an interview with the Tulsa World and can be read in its’ entirety here.
In the interview, Mr. Ford stated that since Ford was injured in the Tennessee game, he was never really the same, and that it led to a “downward spiral” of events.
Ford’s father also clarified as to what rules Ford had broken, stating that missing or being late to class had become an issue, but was uncharacteristic of their son.
Mr. Ford spoke to the effect that Sooners Head Coach Bob Stoops, had been very supportive of their son at this time. Stoops said that he “Will never shut a kid out”, in regards to someone who is struggling physically and mentally.
There has been talk of Ford transferring since the emergence of true freshman Samaje Perine’s record-breaking season, and the addition of the highly touted Joe Mixon, who returns from suspension this upcoming season, and has returned to football related activities already
Ford Sr. answered on if his son would transfer.
“That has not been discussed. Right now it’s all about Keith and trying to determine what went wrong and where it went wrong. He’s doing a heck of a job rebounding from this, in terms of making an effort.”
The Ford’s have expressed gratitude towards Stoops, the coaching staff, and the rest of the team for the support of their son. Now the family looks to get help for their son, and go from there to see where he stands with the team.
“We knew Keith had his support regardless. That acknowledged, ‘OK, let’s take a look at this.’ Now, the violation of team rules, it is what it is. But we think the bigger picture is the underlying issues that resulted in this, and we’re going to have a chance to revisit where Keith stands with the team.”
– Cover Photo Credit: Keith Ford vs Tennessee | USA Today