Monday evening, senior defensive tackle Marcus Thomas, who has been permanently dismissed from the Florida Gators football team, reached out to Gator Country, asking us to print an open letter to Gator Nation on his behalf.
Dear Gator Nation:
First off, I would like to thank the Gator fans for making the last 3-1/2 years of my life very memorable. Gator fans are the best in the world, and are a main reason why I chose Florida over all other colleges that recruited me. There is no better feeling than running out the tunnel in The Swamp or getting a sack in front of 90,000 fans. Secondly, I’d like to thank the coaching staff, especially Coach Mattison and Coach Strong, who are not only great coaches but great people.
I would like to take this time to apologize to the fans, coaches, and my teammates for letting them down. I loved being a Gator and I love playing football, even through pain and never missing a start due to injury. I made a bad decision at a party this past off-season. It was the first time I had been in any kind of trouble in my life and I deserved to be suspended the first game of the season. It was difficult for me to watch the opening game from the sidelines, but I was excited to help my team beat Tennessee in Knoxville, which was a first for us seniors.
When I thought my bad decision was behind me, I was given a longer suspension. It was frustrating to be told I was going to miss that many games of the season. It was not the way I saw my senior year going down when I chose to come back. Many people passed judgment on me and it was hard going from seeing your name in the paper and on the news for three years for great things, then suddenly everyone’s talking about how bad you are. One of the disadvantages of being a football player in the spotlight is that one mistake is seen by everyone.
I apologize most of all to the kids who look up to me and promise to be a better role model in the future. Soon after, my name was cleared and my suspension was lifted. At drug rehab, I felt like I didn’t belong. I knew my mistake was months behind me so I didn’t see the point. I realize now that I was wrong and I should have done everything the coaches asked me to do no matter what I thought. That’s what a good football player does. I’m also aware that I’ve affected my draft status but me and “Scoop” will work even harder at the next level to make up for it. Once again I am truly sorry for what has happened and I blame no one but myself. I’m now the #1 Gator fan in the world and hope my boys can ride out of Atlanta with a ring.