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Suspended Florida players seek to have charges dismissed

College Football, Florida Gators

GAINESVILLE, Fla. -- Seven suspended Florida Gators players, including standout receiver Antonio Callaway, are entering a pretrial intervention program that could result in the dismissal of felony credit card fraud charges.

State Attorney Bill Cervone filed paperwork with the Alachua County court Thursday that showed the outcome of a month-long investigation. The players will need to make restitution and comply with probation protocols in order to get the charges dropped. The intervention offers still need to be approved by a judge in the coming weeks.

Callaway, running back Jordan Scarlett, defensive lineman Keivonnis Davis, defensive lineman Richerd Desir-Jones, linebacker James Houston, linebacker Ventrell Miller and receiver Rick Wells are charged with fraudulent use of a credit card and identity theft. Each of them made one charge with a stolen credit card number, ranging in value from $500 to $2,000, authorities said.

Cervone told ESPN that "it amounts to voluntary probation" and gives the player an opportunity to avoid potential lifelong consequences associated with a felony prosecution and conviction.

"This is not charges being reduced. This is not charges being dismissed," Cervone said. "This is an alternative that the Florida legislature mandates for defendants like these. After I had a chance to look at their backgrounds and their involvement in this mess, I determined that they qualified for the program.

"It amounts to a voluntary probation. They will have a probation officer and must adhere to requirements and rules. These contracts will have to be approved by a judge."

No one should expect the seven back on the field anytime soon. They have to go before the university's Student Code of Conduct Committee to determine potential punishment before even returning to practice.

"We've been made aware of some updates in the legal process and there are still steps to go that include the university student conduct code,'' Florida coach Jim McElwain said in a statement.

Two other teammates, defensive end Jordan Smith and offensive tackle Kadeem Telfort, are still under investigation. They made multiple purchases using multiple stolen cards, police said.

ESPN's Mark Schlabach and The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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