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Clemson's Coleman suspended for Music City Bowl

COLUMBIA, S.C. -- Clemson cornerback Duane Coleman apologized to his team Friday for a drug arrest that cost him the chance to play in the Gaylord Hotels Music City Bowl.

Coleman, a senior who started all 12 games, was suspended after his arrest on a marijuana possession charge. Clemson coach Tommy Bowden met with Coleman on Friday to explain the suspension.

"I want to apologize to my teammates, coaches and fans," Coleman said in statement. "I made a mistake and I must accept the consequences for my actions."

The 23-year-old Coleman, of Naples, Fla., was arrested Wednesday when a small amount of marijuana was found in his car, police said. Coleman was held overnight at the Oconee County jail and released on a personal recognizance bond.

Coleman was stopped in downtown Seneca, about 7 miles from Clemson's campus, for failing to use a turn signal and the arresting officer smelled marijuana coming from the vehicle, police said.

When asked by police if there were any drugs or weapons in the car, Coleman responded, "We done smoked it," according to a police incident report. Coleman then allowed police to search the vehicle, the report said.

Bowden said he didn't make the decision to suspend Coleman in haste, considering the player's status as a team leader.

"But he has to be held accountable for his actions," the coach said.

Coleman, who graduated Thursday, said he won't let this week's mistake spoil his time with the Tigers. He was proud of his accomplishments on and off the field.

"I am not going to let one night ruin my time at Clemson," Coleman said. "I grew as a person here the last five years. ... I am also proud of the contributions I made to this football program."

Coleman's backups are freshman Crezdon Butler and senior Sergio Gilliam. Coleman was one of two senior starters on defense, the other being All-America defensive end Gaines Adams.

Clemson (8-4) finished up on-campus practices Friday. The team will break for Christmas before traveling to Nashville, Tenn., next week to face Kentucky (7-5).