Thursday, January 04, 2007

Nelson leaning on team for support | | The Gainesville Sun | Gainesville, Fla.

My favorite Gator this year, by far. One of the most popular players on his team. This humanizes him even more.

Nelson leaning on team for support | | The Gainesville Sun | Gainesville, Fla.: "Nelson leaning on team for support


Sun sports writer

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. — Florida safety Reggie Nelson has been sharing his grief with his teammates and coaches. He's not quite ready for the media to intrude.

Nelson was on the UF schedule to attend interviews at the media hotel Wednesday morning, but decided to back out.

'He didn't want to come answer questions this morning,' junior cornerback Ryan Smith said.

Nelson's mother died two weeks ago after a long battle with cancer. Many of Nelson's teammates, including Smith, attended the funeral in Melbourne.

Nelson is practicing with the team and coping with his grief, Smith said.

'He's doing fine,' Smith said. 'Being on the field is helping him get his mind off of things. He'll be all right. He's doing all right.'

Co-defensive coordinator Greg Mattison said he's not sure yet how Nelson will react in Monday night's game.

'Reggie is a tremendous young man,' Mattison said. 'If you've ever lost someone, how can you ever say when is that time (when you start getting over it). We never know.

'I think the very best thing in the world for him is to be with the guys who love him, and I think that's very evident right now.'

Co-defensive coordinator Charlie Strong, who recruited Nelson, said it might be very emotional for Nelson as kickoff nears Monday night.

'The hardest part for him is going to be right before the game because that's when he always called his mom,' Strong said."


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