In a surprising reversal, Washington football coach Steve Sarkisian said after Friday’s practice that he reinstated two reserve players whom he kicked off the team earlier in the week for an unspecified violation of team rules.
Redshirt freshman tight end Joshua Perkins of Cerritos, CA., and walk-on tailback Willis Wilson of Lakes High in Lakewood, were back because Sarkisian told the Seattle Times that further investigation of the episode and conversation with teammates changed his mind.
“We gathered some more information on the situation and it felt like the right thing to do,” he said. “We met with some of the leaders on the team . . . Their punishment will be handled in-house and I think that they are thankful for the opportunity. I think that their teammates are happy to have them back.”
Perkins and Wilson were projected to provide depth at positions where the Huskies were thin. Both played in Friday’s practice, but were not allowed to talk to media.
In a larger blow, two other players had surgeries that will cause them to miss four to six weeks.
Senior WR James Johnson, who figured to be a primary target for QB Keith Price , had a dislocated right wrist and torn ligaments repaired. The injury came Wednesday in practice. Johnson’s 68 career catches are the most on the Huskies’ roster.
Johnson’s absence will elevate junior WR Kevin Smith — if he continues his improvement after surgery to repair a torn ACL he suffered before the Alamo Bowl in December.
Jamaal Kearse, in contention to start at linebacker, a position already thinned by graduation and injuries, had a stress fracture in his leg repaired.