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CORVALLIS, Ore. (AP) -- Oregon State receiver Sammie Stroughter has put football on hold indefinitely while he deals with personal issues.
Stroughter, who caught 79 passes for 1,293 yards last season, has been missing for most of fall camp as the Beavers prepare for their opener at home against Utah on Aug. 30, and there was no word from the school on why he wasn't working out with the team.
Stroughter appeared briefly to watch workouts before a recent scrimmage, but did not speak to reporters, and coach Mike Riley asked that he be given his privacy.
Stroughter responded with a statement Tuesday that was released by the university.
"During the past year my family and I have experienced a considerable amount of grief and mourning due to the passing of two family members who were important male role models in my life. In addition to these losses, Coach Jim Gilstrap, who recruited me to OSU, passed away this summer," the statement read.
"These losses have taken my entire family by storm and the grief from these incidents has affected each one of us differently. It has been the decision of my immediate family and I that I take whatever time needed to get over what I am personally experiencing due to the sudden changes in my life," he said.
Stroughter did not offer a timetable for his return to the team. The senior could sit out this season as a redshirt and play for the Beavers in 2008.
He had not attended practice since Aug. 8.
Stroughter emerged as a fan favorite with an electrifying 70-yard punt return for a touchdown in OSU's upset win over No. 3 USC last season.
He scored eight touchdowns in 2006, three on punt returns, helping the Beavers go 10-4.
Chris Johnson, who had four receptions for 69 yards last season, will be the starting split end against the Utes.
"The Oregon State University football program supports Sammie's decision completely. Sammie will always have an open door with this football program," Riley said. "He is a terrific young man and our thoughts and prayers are with him and his family."
Riley said he would make no further comments on Stroughter's situation.
(Copyright 2007 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.) APTV-08-22-07 1249MDT