Former Georgia running back Isaiah Crowell isn’t the first Bulldog to run into trouble with the law, and he won’t be the last.
And this isn’t the first time Mark Richt has been faced with a suddenly vacated tailback slot, particularly since the departure of Knowshon Moreno after the 2008 season.
But trouble with the law has intersected with the tailback position all too frequently since 2008.
Crowell and the two most prominent running backs of the last three seasons, Jacksonville State senior Washaun Ealey and former Minnesota Viking Caleb King, all departed Richt’s team with less than fond farewells.
And all three spent time in the custody of the Athens-Clarke County Police.
Ealey’s arrest in August 2010 resulted from a relatively innocuous mistake: driving with a suspended license.
Of course, when you’re driving with a suspended license, you better not give police a reason to look at that license.
For Ealey, the license’s validity came into question after he hit a pickup truck in the East Campus Parking Deck with a 2004 Chevy Impala that was not his.
Even that might not have led to an arrest had Ealey stayed at the scene, but instead he departed immediately.
He might’ve gotten away with that, too, if it wasn’t for the Parking Services employee who watched the whole thing.
Ealey was released from jail the same day he entered it after posting a $3,480 bond.
But Richt, displeased that Ealey had driven after he assured coaches he would not until his license was reinstated, suspended him for the season opener against Louisiana-Lafayette.
“I’m not happy with it. It was foolish. He knew better. He knew better,” Richt said at the time. “He knew he had a suspended license and said he wouldn’t drive. But he decided one little short distance won’t hurt. And it did. He’s paying a severe price for that.
Ealey rushed for 811 yards and 11 touchdowns in 2010, but in-house disciplinary issues led to another suspension in February 2011, and to Ealey’s departure that May.
While Ealey was only responsible for one ACC police report, King had his name on several.
He was arrested in 2007 for driving with a suspended license after he drove the wrong way on a one-way street.
A 23-year-old woman requested King’s arrest after he threatened her in a money dispute in May 2010, but decided not to press charges the next month.
But King was also suspended from the team in October 2010.
He had failed to appear in court for a speeding citation that June in Walton County, and a failure to appear warrant was issued.
King was arrested that October after his brother was stopped for driving with a tag light, and then arriving at the scene to move the vehicle.
Unsurprisingly, Richt was not pleased.
“I expect all our players to take care of their responsibilities on and off the field,” Richt said at the time. “When players don’t do that it damages the reputation of the player, our team, and our university.”
King served his two-game sentence and finished the rest of the 2010 season, but did not return in 2011 because he was declared academically ineligible.
Instead, he signed with the Vikings as an undrafted free agent that August.
King spent most of the 2011 season on the Vikings’ practice squad, and although he was moved to the 53-man roster for the team’s final game, he did not play.
But King’s legal troubles followed him to Minneapolis.
In late April, King was arrested for third-degree assault after an incident at a birthday party.
The Vikings cut him from the team that same day.
Combined with other arrests and suspensions for drug use, issues off the field have plagued the Bulldogs in recent seasons.
And as the community grows more and more impatient with these issues, Richt’s headache grows bigger and bigger.
Richt would rather not have had the tailback position turn into a revolving door.
And Richt would have preferred for Crowell’s only problems to be opposing defenses.