Arkansas' Jeremy Sprinkle sorry after being suspended for shoplifting at bowl sponsor

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Saturday, December 31, 2016

Arkansastight end Jeremy Sprinkle has apologized after being suspended hours before Thursday's Belk Bowl for attempting to shoplift from a Belk department store earlier in the week.

"To my family, friends, teammates, coaching staff, colleagues, the University of Arkansas, Razorback nation, the Belk Bowl, and, most of all, the young children that look up to me, I am truly sorry for this unfortunate and completely avoidable occurrence," he said in a statement. "I have embarrassed myself, my team, and my parents, who raised me to be an upstanding man of high moral character. In looking back at the events, I realize I have the sole power and control to avoid negative situations such as these."

Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police cited Sprinkle for unlawful concealment Tuesday.

Razorbacks and Virginia Tech players were each given $450 to spend in 90 minutes at Belk as part of their bowl-game swag ahead of Thursday night's matchup. Virginia Tech beat Arkansas 35-24 in the game.

Police say Sprinkle attempted to shoplift eight items worth $260 from the store. Among them were a Ralph Lauren shirt, a pair of boxers, two collared shirts, Nike black crew socks and two wallets.

Police released Sprinkle later Tuesday.

Arkansas, meanwhile, announced it had suspended Sprinkle, a senior tight end, shortly before the game. The team did not provide a reason.

Sprinkle dealt with an ankle injury this year but finished the regular season third on the team with 33 catches for 380 yards and four touchdowns. For his career, Sprinkle caught 71 passes for 921 yards and 11 touchdowns.

He's considered the No. 7 tight end available in the 2017 NFL draft, according to ESPN NFL draft analyst Mel Kiper Jr.

"As with any setback, I will use it as an opportunity to learn from my mistakes and be a better person going forward," he said in the statement. "With this being my last collegiate football game, this was a difficult lesson, but I understand and accept personal responsibility for my shortcomings.

"Over the next few weeks and months, I will reflect on not only my poor decision, but also my accomplishments during my career. I will learn from this and be a better man because of it."