Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Juron Criner is apparently fine and dandy

All the speculation about Juron Criner came to a quiet end Monday night (so quiet that I didn't even hear about it until mid-Tuesday despite working for a sports media company in the freakin' state of Arizona):
Wide receiver Juron Criner is working out on campus and is expected to join the Arizona Wildcats when they open training camp Aug. 4, coach Mike Stoops said Monday.

"We anticipate having Juron," Stoops told the Daily Star. "He had some family issues that were concerning over the summer, and those are personal. We anticipate him being the same player -- or a better player -- than he was a year ago."
Nobody every really knew -- or would say, anyway -- what was going on, with the rumors ranging from cancer to a mysterious neurological injury that required some sort of hush-hush testing over the summer. Amid all that crap, score one for Bruce Feldman and local TV guy Bruce Cooper, both of whom were reporting from the beginning that the whole thing was related to a family member's "situation" and had nothing to do with Criner himself.

The weird thing is that Criner definitely did miss a trip to the ESPN studios in June because of an undisclosed "medical" issue, and the neurological testing reportedly happened too -- whether that was related to the family thing is anyone's guess (unless that's just a well-put-together cover story, in which case WTF).

We'll probably never know. Stoops' comments Monday were the first sort of public statement from anybody even acknowledging Criner's absence for the last few months, and my call to the UA sports information office got a definitive "no comment" Tuesday afternoon. So yeah.

Regardless, assuming Criner really is healthy, Arizona just got a massive, Pulp Fiction-style adrenaline shot to the chest. Minus one of the 10 best receivers in the country, I'd give them just about no shot at winning the Pac-12 South and an excellent shot at finishing .500; with him, I think they're almost dead even with Arizona State as the prime competition to be Oregon's sacrificial lamb in the inaugural Pac-12 title game (wooo).


Post a Comment

Powered by Blogger.