GAINESVILLE, Fla. — Star cornerback Jalen Tabor was suspended after getting into a serious altercation Tuesday with Florida Gators teammate C’yontai Lewis, sources told SEC Country’s Zach Abolverdi.
Both Tabor and Lewis, a tight end expected to have a bigger role in the offense this year, were suspended from team activities and will miss the Sept. 3 season opener against Massachusetts.
Jalen Tabor's suspension not drug related. He was suspended for getting into a serious altercation Tuesday with C'yontai Lewis, per sources.
— Zach Abolverdi (@ZachAbolverdi) August 17, 2016
Florida head coach Jim McElwain announced the suspensions Wednesday morning.
“Both C’yontai and Jalen will not be involved with the team or practice due to behavior that is not acceptable,” McElwain said in a statement posted to the team’s official website. “By no means are these bad guys and yet consequences have been handed down. We will not look the other way when it comes to breaking of team policies.
“I want to echo what I said earlier, these are both fine young men who will learn and be stronger from their actions. They will also be suspended for the first game. There are life lessons in everything we do. We will be better because of it and no one person is bigger than the Florida Gators.”
Tabor had a breakout season in 2015 with four interceptions, 18 passes defended and 40 tackles and could be a potential first-round draft pick with another big campaign.
This is the junior cornerback’s second suspension after he missed the Tennessee game last year for reportedly refusing to take a drug test.
Just last week Tabor had met with reporters and discussed how he was trying to mentor freshman wide receiver Tyrie Cleveland, who has faced internal discipline for a BB gun incident involving he and fellow freshman wide receiver Rick Wells.
“When football was taken away from me against Tennessee, it really opened my eyes up,” Tabor said last week.
The Gators are expected to have one of the top cornerback duos in the country with Tabor and fellow junior Quincy Wilson.
Lewis, meanwhile, impressed in the Florida spring game while leading all players with five receptions for 79 yards and a touchdown. Now a redshirt-sophomore, he missed five games last fall with a hand injury and finished his first season with four catches for 75 yards and two touchdowns.