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Beavers receiver Stroughter returns after leave of absence

CORVALLIS, Ore. -- Sammie Stroughter surprised his
Oregon State teammates by showing up at practice Saturday, four days after
it was announced he would take a leave of absence from the team.

The senior wide receiver was in pads and joined his teammates in
drills at the Beavers' afternoon practice.

He had announced Wednesday in a statement released by the
university that he was dealing with grief after the deaths of two
family members and longtime Beavers assistant Jim Gilstrap.

Stroughter, a third-team All-America selection last year, had
last attended practice on Aug. 7.

Oregon State coach Mike Riley said Stroughter's full return to
the team was still undetermined and that he was just "testing the
water."

"It was Sammie's choice today," Riley said in a statement
released by the school. "He just showed up, got his gear on and
came out. That's really what happened. There is no real word about
it. He came out and practiced and is just having fun. "

"We visited this morning; we talked about a longer-range plan,
but really it will end up being a personal choice for Sammie," he
said. "The statement that he made was pretty clear that it was a
personal choice."

The Beavers open their season Thursday night at home against
Utah.

Stroughter caught 79 passes for 1,293 yards last season. He
scored eight touchdowns, three of them on punt returns.