(Updated 9 p.m. Saturday)
ATHENS — Washaun Ealey’s suspension lasted less than three weeks.
The Georgia tailback, suspended indefinitely from all team activities by coach Mark Richt on Feb. 8, has been “reinstated to full team standing,” UGA said Saturday.
That makes Ealey, Georgia’s leading rusher the past two seasons, eligible to participate in spring practice, which begins March 10.
“He’s done a very nice job of doing what I asked him to do,” Richt said Saturday night, “to take care of his business what I call the Georgia way, staying on top of things and being punctual and being prepared. . . . He’s done it with a very good attitude, and now I think he’s ready to integrate back in the rest of what’s going on at Georgia. I’m happy for him.”
Earlier Saturday, Richt said in a statement that Ealey will rejoin team activities Monday.
Ealey, a rising junior, was suspended after failing to report on time for an early-morning punishment run.
The incident was not Ealey’s first brush with trouble at Georgia. He was suspended from last season’s opening game because of an arrest for hit-and-run of a parked vehicle and driving with a suspended license.
“I didn’t think he was handling his responsibilities as well as he should,” Richt said Saturday night, referring to the Feb. 8 suspension. “When I felt like he was back on track, I was going to have him go back to doing what everybody else was doing.”
Ealey played in 12 games for Georgia last season, starting seven and rushing for 811 yards and 11 touchdowns. He rushed for 717 yards as a freshman in 2009, when he played in nine games.
His role could diminish with the arrival this summer of Carver-Columbus tailback Isaiah Crowell, a prized recruit who signed with Georgia this month. Richt said on signing day that he expects Crowell to play “heavily” as a freshman and possibly to get the first carry in the Sept. 3 opener against Boise State in the Georgia Dome.
– Staff writer Ken Sugiura contributed to this report.