Florida junior cornerback Teez Tabor and redshirt sophomore C'yontai Lewis were suspended immediately from team activities and for the Gators' season opener against Massachusetts on Wednesday, Florida announced through a Jim McElwain statement.
"Both C'yontai and Jalen will not be involved with the team or practice due to behavior that is not acceptable,'' McElwain said. "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 and Lewis were reportedly involved in “a serious altercation,” per Zach Abolverdi of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. Helmets were reportedly used, per Zach Aldridge of Bright House Sports Network, leading to Tabor being hit by one and bleeding, reports Graham Hall of The Gainesville Sun.
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
Sources: The fight between Jalen Tabor and C'yontai Lewis got so serious even helmets were used. #Gators— Zach Aldridge (@wzaldridge) August 17, 2016
Sources: Tabor was hit with a helmet during scuffle. Injury unknown, but led to bleeding. #Gators— Graham Hall (@GrahamHall_) August 17, 2016
The chances of this suspension being for a violation of the University Athletic Association's drug abuse policy were low: Tabor has reportedly already been suspended once under those protocols, for Florida's 2015 game against Tennessee, and a second suspension for him under that same policy would cost him 30 percent of Florida's regular season.
Florida has also alluded to suspensions under that policy as “violations of university policy” under McElwain.
Tabor's suspension for the Tennessee game was his first as a Gator; Lewis has never previously been suspended by Florida.
Lewis was a participant in Florida’s informal locker room sparring sessions earlier this offseason, and a source said then that he took the boxing more seriously than most: “C’yontai looked like he was about to murder someone,” that source told Alligator Army, also mentioning the team “got in trouble” for that.
The news of a suspension for Tabor is a dismaying chapter in an offseason in which he had been positioned by fans and Florida alike as the star and face of the 2016 Gators, with the university giving him a platform and helping him brand himself under his Teez nickname.
In Wednesday's release, both Florida staff writer Scott Carter and McElwain refer to Tabor by Jalen, his given name.