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South Carolina's Saunders eligible for NFL draft

An attorney for Weslye Saunders says the NFL has declared the former South Carolina tight end eligible for the upcoming draft.

James "Butch" Williams says Saunders learned of the league's decision Monday and will attend the NFL's combine for draft-eligible players in Indianapolis this weekend.

Saunders was at the center of an NCAA inquiry at South Carolina for potential contact with agents and for several football players staying at a local hotel at discounted rates. Saunders was suspended in late August and permanently dismissed a few weeks later without playing a game.

Williams says the NFL originally thought Saunders needed to declare for the draft as an underclassman since he did not play his senior season. However, Williams said the league granted Saunders' petition of appeal.

(This version CORRECTS APNewsNow. Weslye is correct spelling.)