Chris Petersen has finally turned the page on his first major challenge as Washington head coach on Wednesday afternoon, when it was announced that wide receiver Damore’ea Stringfellow will transfer. Suspended quarterback Cyler Miles was simultaneously re-instated to the program this afternoon.
The announcement puts an end to the speculation over what would happen after Stringfellow plead guilty to two counts of misdemeanor assault stemming from his post-Super Bowl incident in the U-District.
This is the best possible outcome for the Huskies, and for all parties involved.
For Stringfellow, it means he will move on from the University of Washington.
Now, the journalist in me wants to make it clear that it’s not definitive why he is leaving, meaning, we can’t necessarily conclude he was kicked off the team by Petersen. Though that could be the case.
It could mean that he and Petersen sat down and mutually decided it would be best for him to leave the program. It could mean that Petersen booted him and this is how it was announced because a transfer is the natural next step for him. It could mean that Petersen laid out a punishment for him that included missing games and Stringfellow decided to transfer. Or it could mean that Stringfellow was set to be re-instated with Miles, but decided to move on because of the stigma attached with his incident among the student body (such as when a student left a note on Stringfellow’s door suggesting that he “kill himself.”)
The only thing we know for sure is that Stringfellow is moving on from Washington, and to me that is best for all parties. Stringfellow’s actions were very serious and unacceptable. Leaving a woman temporarily unconscious because you want to destroy her photographic evidence of your assault is an automatic gone-from-the-program for me.
For Stringfellow, who still has four years to play three, he now has more than enough time to distance himself from this incident if he can change his ways and grow as a person. It will be more healthy for him to do this at an institution other than Washington. I don’t know Stringfellow personally and therefore can’t make assumptions about him as a person based on this one incident. He could be a nice kid who just made an emotional and stupid 19-year old decision to vent out some anger because he wanted to “back up his quarterback.” He could very well move on from this and become a model student-athlete and citizen. I hope that’s the case, because he’s served his punishment and will deserve an opportunity to distance himself from this.
Just not at the University of Washington.
For Washington, this is an opportunity for Petersen to re-inforce his disciplinarian identity that he forged for himself at Boise State. Stringfellow is a handful as an outside receiver and is immensely talented, standing at 6-foot-3 with speed to get down the field. He was a highly sought after 4-star recruit with offers from Michigan, Ohio State, Nebraska, USC and more. Meaning, it was probably a difficult decision for Washington to have to watch him walk away from the program. Though, it won’t hurt having Jaydon Mickens, John Ross and Kasen Williams leading the group in 2014.
For Miles, it’s a second chance. He didn’t have charges pursued against him despite his role in the incident but was suspended for the entirety of spring practice. That put him at a disadvantage of not being able to learn the new offense on the field as sophomore Jeff Lindquist and redshirt freshman Troy Williams were able to. Miles is still regarded as the favorite to win the job and probably should be considering physical talent and experience on the field, having started and won one game at Oregon State and played the second half in Washington’s Fight Hunger Bowl victory over BYU.
To me this is an acceptable and preferable resolution to an ugly situation for Petersen. Now, we can focus on the quarterback competition and the Petersen-era opener on Aug. 30.