PITTSBURGH – Pitt coach Dave Wannstedt is comfortable with his decision not to hold defensive end Jabaal Sheard out of game action, even though Sheard threw a man through a Pittsburgh art gallery's glass door during a fight last month.
Sheard read a statement Friday to reporters apologizing for his actions, which led to him pleading guilty to disorderly conduct. A district judge ordered him to pay a $300 fine and all the other man's medical bills and write a letter of apology to him. Sheard also was subjected to internal team discipline that Wannstedt has not fully explained.
"I made a huge mistake that reflected poorly upon my school and my family," said Sheard, who had serious charges of aggravated assault and resisting arrest dropped. "I am deeply sorry for that and I want to sincerely apologize to my teammates, coaches and family for my actions. I have told them all I will work hard to gain their respect and be a leader on and off the field."
Wannstedt said he received additional details about the July 18 incident that led to his decision not to keep Sheard out of any games, but he did not disclose them.
"Hear me loud and clear, please," Wannstedt said. "After gathering all of the information and the legal system took its course, we are very comfortable with the decision we made considering Jabaal. You all know that we have had players in the past, as every school does, off the field, on the field, where it hasn't worked out. But my responsibility to the university and to these kids is to be consistent and fair with the facts and handle it accordingly. And that's all I have to say about that."
A Pitt spokesman cut off questions about the Sheard case when Wannstedt was asked to detail the internal punishment he received.
Sheard, a senior from Hollywood Hills, Fla., and teammate Greg Romeus are considered to be one of the nation's top defensive end tandems. The 6-foot-4, 260-pound Sheard had five sacks and 42 tackles as Pitt went 10-3 last season, and 10½ sacks while starting all 26 games the last two seasons.