Grossman's status still not decided


Published: Thursday, January 2, 2003 at 6:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Thursday, January 2, 2003 at 1:59 a.m.
TAMPA - Rex Grossman sat silently.
His hands were on his head and his head was down. As his teammates scrambled to get out of Raymond James Stadium as quickly as possible after Wednesday's 38-30 loss to Michigan, Grossman was forced to sit and wait.
Grossman's silence might have been deafening if he wasn't forced to sit in the Outback Bowl interview room and listen to Michigan running back Chris Perry continuously talk about his MVP performance which included 108 receiving yards, 85 rushing yards and four touchdowns.
Grossman's teammates were all more than aware of what Perry did Wednesday, but they were able to get dressed and get out while Grossman had to sit there and hear all of it relived for him.
After being knocked around, getting sacked four times, Grossman hadn't been through enough grief without having to listen to the winner celebrate. Grossman sat silently and patiently. Where his patience ends will be decided in the next few days, if it hasn't been already.
Grossman said for seemingly the 1,986,238th time that he hasn't decided whether to return to Florida for his senior season.
"It's a life change," Grossman said. "I don't need to rush into anything."
Regardless of what Grossman said, his teammates, and virtually everyone else believe he is gone.
"He'll make a decision in the next few days," Florida coach Ron Zook said. "I told Rex and I told his father, no matter what happens, we'll always be friends."
After the beating Grossman took this season, it could be time for Grossman to put a little distance into that friendship. After being one of the best players in the nation during the 2001 season, no aspect of his game improved under Zook.
If anything, Grossman may have become a better scrambler out of sheer desperation while running from defensive linemen. One year the poster boy, the next year the stepchild.
On what was likely Grossman's last offensive play of his glorious Florida career, he had to run a play called by Ed Zaunbrecher and approved by Zook that took the ball away from Grossman and put it into the hands of Vernell Brown, a redshirt freshman who is generously listed at 5-foot-8 and had seen virtually no previous action in the game. The pass was intended for Grossman, who isn't exactly known for his speed, but Brown threw an interception.
"Rex doesn't need to be going out there and catching passes," offensive lineman Shannon Snell said. "He should be throwing the ball. That's what he's good at."
Grossman said he thinks next year will be a better one for Florida, with, or without him.
You can reach Dylan B. Tomlinson by calling 374-5054 or by e-mail at tomlind@gvillesun.com

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