Less than two weeks after defensive tackle Chase Rome left the Nebraska football program for what was cited by head coach Bo Pelini as personal reasons, reports surfaced late last night that Rome has returned to the team and could play on Saturday vs. Idaho State.
This change of events, seemingly out of nowhere, leave us with a lot of questions.
First and foremost, what were the personal issues? A death in the family? A sudden illness? Time needed to work on classes he may have fallen behind in? All of these would qualify as relevant personal issues, but none of them were mentioned after Rome's exit.
The main talking point around Rome's exit was his displeasure with his role in the program.
He was made to sound like a player with a sense of entitlement who was not getting his way, but many people, including myself, had his back and pointed the finger at the Nebraska coaching staff. What may come out of this recent development is more finger-pointing, both at Rome and Pelini.
I've had the privilege of playing on several sports teams in high school, wrestling at the collegiate level and even a brief stint with a semi-professional football team. On every one of those teams, if a player quit, that was the end of the story, especially if the program had moved on and since gone into battle without that player.
Such is the case with Nebraska. The Huskers have played a game without him and won.
Now comes a critical period of perception: How will Rome be perceived by players and fans?
How does a player, who worked a full week for playing time while Rome was off somewhere pondering his life, now settle for having earned playing time cut into or eliminated by Rome? How will fans—working class fans—respond to a kid who didn't get his way, took the most extreme action possible and then was given another chance?
How will Husker Nation and the players respond to Bo Pelini after what appears to be a cave-in of sorts on his ideals and principles? It looks as if this was a Rome vs. Pelini fight and Rome won.
Will Pelini lose respect in the eyes of players and fans?
All of these questions linger and—to be realistic—have a good chance of grabbing the headlines over the weekend, given the less-than-enthusiastic attitude toward the Idaho State game by everyone with a vested interest in the Nebraska football program.