Beard will stay in Athens.
Mulligans are a rare commodity in the college football world.
Luckily for Georgia Bulldogs offensive tackle Mark Beard, he was afforded just that.
On Thursday night, the school announced that the soon-to-be senior would be transferring from Georgia after graduating, via The Macon Telegraph’s Seth Emerson:
News item: Georgia announces that OT Mark Beard, who had a chance to start next season, is transferring for his final year.— Seth Emerson (@SethEmerson) February 7, 2014
Beard seemed ready to move on from his statement.
“I’m grateful for the experience I’ve had at Georgia and that I’ll leave with a degree from UGA,” he said, per The Atlanta Journal-Constitution’s Chip Towers. “I’m looking forward to the next step in my football career.”
But as quickly as the news broke, it was all taken back:
Mark Beard is NOT transferring after all, UGA has announced. So never mind.— Seth Emerson (@SethEmerson) February 7, 2014
For just 13 hours Beard wasn’t a Bulldog. Apparently, that was 13 hours too much.
Fortunately, Georgia head coach Mark Richt completely understood where the Adamsville, Ala., native was coming from, via Emerson’s report:
Sometimes making a decision and living it out are two different things. As I’ve mentioned before, the same thing happened to me. As a player I told my coach I had decided to leave for what I thought were all the right reasons. But after a few days, I realized it was a bad decision and asked to come back. He took me back and I’m happy Mark will still be part of our program.
Sure, you could call Richt empathetic. But you could also say he was just looking out for his team.
After all, the Bulldogs were already set to lose three starters from the offensive line as it is.
Over two seasons at Georgia following a transfer from Coffeyville Community College, Beard had appeared in 26 games, including making two starts. He served as left tackle Kenarious Gates’ backup in both years.
Beard is a strong candidate to take over the starting job in 2014.
There must be something about the thought of leaving the Bulldogs football program that doesn’t sit well with players, as Beard wasn’t the first to flip-flop on his decision to leave Athens:
Stay just a little bit longer: Mark Beard, Marc Deas, Brandon Burrows, Ken Malcome. All set to transfer & came back. Malcome did finally go.— Marc Weiszer (@marcweiszer) February 7, 2014
Regardless, Beard’s decision to stay is for the best for all parties involved.