Clemson Football: Dabo Swinney Is Wise to Leave Wiggle Room on Sammy Watkins

Michael FelderNational CFB Lead WriterJune 13, 2012

MIAMI GARDENS, FL - JANUARY 04:  Sammy Watkins #2 of the Clemson Tigers looks on against the West Virginia Mountaineers during the Discover Orange Bowl at Sun Life Stadium on January 4, 2012 in Miami Gardens, Florida.  (Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images)
Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images

Yesterday, as reported by the Charleston Post and Courier, Dabo Swinney let us know that his star wide receiver, Sammy Watkins, is likely going to miss some time following his arrest this offseason.

In Swinney's words: 

Is there a chance he doesn’t miss any time? Probably not, Swinney said. I’m not going to make any decision until we get closer to playing time and the main reason for that is Sammy has a process he has to deal with; some things he has to fulfill this summer. A lot of that is going to depend on how he responds and so far he has hit a home run in every category of how he has responded to this situation.

Now that's a lot of wiggle room from a length of suspension standpoint.

The difference between "miss any time" and "miss two games" ranges from a quarter or a half to the full eight quarters associated with the first two contests for the Clemson Tigers.

Let's face it: Sammy Watkins is one of, if not the, best players for this Clemson Tigers team. In their season opener against Auburn, they are going to need all hands on deck to help themselves grab a win and start their campaign off on the right foot.

That includes Sammy Watkins and his dynamic return and receiving ability.

That is not to say that Watkins should go undisciplined. Rather, that is to say that Dabo's smart to leave that door open for the kid to get back sooner, not later. Sammy Watkins is expected to be enrolled in his Pre-Trial Intervention program and that is a major discipline step. That's community service to pay his debt to society for the arrest and ultimately the program will wipe his record clean going forward.

There are more ways to discipline Watkins through the summer and fall than just suspension.

Sure, rival fans and people who have never sweat going up and down the stadium in August won't understand, and those folks really shouldn't count. Sammy Watkins, according to, is a good kid who made a bad decision. A kid who had one of the nicest police-arrested person interactions by all accounts, as NBC 7 News details:

"Toward the end of the recording the officer told Watkins, 'I appreciate you being so respectful with me.'

'Yes sir, you're welcome.'"

Let Sammy Watkins pay his debt to society, put in some extra conditioning and then come September, a minimal suspension will be in order that might get him on the field for some of the game against the Auburn Tigers.

There is no point in over-suspending a kid to look tough—especially a guy that has been far from a troublemaker to this point.