In one of those things that would be innocuous just about anywhere else but has dire implications at Iowa football, sophomore linebacker Reggie Spearman returned to Twitter Tuesday night.
It's a wonderful message, until you remember that Iowa football players are notoriously verboten from Twitter during the entirety of their stay with the program. It doesn't matter that Spearman is on break, or that the season is over, or even that he might be hanging out with family and friends. He is not allowed to broadcast that via the tweets, and any attempt to would have immediate repercussions far greater than the impact of said tweet. And Spearman, who retweeted something in December -- also forbidden, but maybe missed or at least explainable as a slip-up -- but has never authored anything from that account, knows all of this.
And so it's likely that, after promising national championships in high school, playing as a pass rusher as a true freshman, winning the starting weakside linebacker job as a sophomore, then losing that job after an OWI arrest, Spearman is leaving the program. And if his new Twitter profile tagline is to be believed, he might be done with football in general:
This entire scenario plays directly to a bit of drama from the preseason, when Spearman posted to his Facebook account -- still allowed by Iowa football! -- that he was leaving football to take care of his family. He said similar things throughout December and January, culminating in this most recent Twitter thing.
Although per Scout's Rob Howe, Spearman is leaving Iowa... but perhaps not leaving football altogether.
Per a family member, true sophomore LB Reggie Spearman is leaving the #Hawkeyes. Setting up visits to other schools to find better fit.— Rob Howe (@HawkeyeInsider) January 14, 2015
Kirk Ferentz may address Spearman's seeming departure at his press conference later this afternoon. Regardless, Spearman's departure robs the Iowa program of one of its best prospects, even if difficulties off the field (the aforementioned personal issues he mentioned on Facebook) and on the field (his struggles to grasp coverage responsibilities at the linebacker position) resulted in him making a a lesser impact than many (including us) expected this season. Good luck to Spearman as he departs.
EDIT: And straight from the horse's mouth:
I'll like to say thanks to all the Iowa fans for all the good times. Thanks to my Teammates for everything. Go Hawks. Have a nice year guys— Reggie Spearman (@SpearmanReggie) January 14, 2015