It's up to Blount to earn reinstatement

Posted by ESPN.com's Ted Miller

The earliest running back LeGarrette Blount can return from suspension is Nov. 7.

Take out your Oregon football schedule.

That's the week after USC visits Oregon.

That should lower the arched eyebrows and stick a sock in the self-righteous questioning of motives.

"It's not a football decision, it's a human being decision. It's about that individual," Ducks coach Chip Kelly said.

Yes, Kelly reversed his previously and unequivocally stated position that Blount would not return to the team after he punched a Boise State player who was taunting him after the Ducks 19-8 season-opening defeat.

Good. That speaks well of him. After the original hullabaloo passed, Kelly was able to gather more information, consult with some smart folks and observe how Blount carried himself after his worst moment.

Then he changed Kelly mind. Again, that's a positive. One of the problems we have with the public discourse in this country is folks rigidly hold onto positions, no matter what a catalogue of contrary facts say.

Blount will serve at least a seven-game suspension and be available for four games and a bowl. And that's his best-case scenario.

Blount has to satisfy not only Kelly, but also athletic director Mike Bellotti and university Richard Lariviere.

And then the final word will come down from the Pac-10 office. In a brief statement this afternoon, commissioner Larry Scott committed to no course of action, other than to say that he will consider Oregon's appeal on Blount's behalf if and when it crosses his desk.

“The University of Oregon may appeal to the conference for a reduction in the original disciplinary actions taken against LeGarrette Blount,” commissioner Larry Scott said. “The power to reinstate rests with the conference, and if and when the university decides to make such an appeal, the conference will take the matter under advisement and make a decision.”

And now the focus turns to Blount.

He has been given a great opportunity to get his life back in order and to prove to people that one bad night doesn't define the person he will be going forward.

He needs to go to class. He needs to study hard. He needs to hit the weight room with renewed zeal. He needs to set an example during practice.

If he gets to suit up for a game again, he needs to gracefully accept whatever role he will be given.

And if his name ends up getting called this spring during the NFL draft, he needs to never forget his experience.

He owes it to the folks who are standing by him to validated their faith in him.