Texas Tech suspends Leach over injured receiver

Texas Tech suspended Mike Leach yesterday while the school investigated complaints from receiver Adam James and his family about how the coach treated the player after a concussion.

James is the son of former NFL player and current TV analyst Craig James.

The school said in a release that defensive coordinator Ruffin McNeill will be the interim coach and lead the team in the Alamo Bowl against Michigan State on Jan. 2 in San Antonio.

Texas Tech officials declined to identify the player, but James' family released a statement to the Associated Press identifying Adam as the player involved.

"Mr. and Mrs. James took the step with great regret and after consideration and prayer to convey to the Texas Tech Administration that their son had been subjected to actions and treatment not consistent with common sense rules for safety and health," the statement said.

"Over the past year, there has been a greatly enhanced recognition of the dangers of concussions and the potential for long term physical damage to players. At virtually every level of football coaching, cases where children and young men have sustained concussions have generated serious discussion of the importance of correct treatment and diagnosis."

A person familiar with James' case said he suffered a concussion during a Dec. 16 scrimmage.

McNeill will remain in charge of the team until the investigation is complete.

He declined to answer questions about the incident after last night's practice in San Antonio. Players were not made available to the media.

"Mike's my friend, we've been friends for a long time, and I don't think right now is the right time to go into that," McNeill said.

He said that Leach arrived with the team in San Antonio and that Adam James also was with the team, but not practicing.

McNeill said he was told around 3:30 p.m. that he was taking over for Leach, then told the players about a half-hour later.

Craig James was scheduled to announce the Alamo Bowl. ESPN spokesman Josh Krulewitz said James not work the game.

There's been internal strife this season with the Red Raiders (8-4). Leach chastised players after a loss to Texas A & M in October for listening to "their fat little girlfriends," and thinking the Aggies were a pushover. After the Red Raiders loss at then-No. 12 Houston in September, Leach suspended starting offensive lineman Brandon Carter indefinitely for violating team rules.

The loss to Houston was the second straight for the Red Raiders, who had fallen, 34-24, at No. 2 Texas. This season is the first since 2002 - Leach's third season - that the Red Raiders dropped two of their first four games.

That same week, Leach banned his players from having Twitter pages after linebacker Marlon Williams asked on his account why he was still in a meeting room when "the head coach can't even be on time."

Leach, the Big 12 coach of the year last season, and the university were at odds for months at the end of last year over negotiations for an extension to his contract following one of the program's best season. The Red Raiders went 11-2 and beat then-No. 1 Texas and climbed to No. 2 in the nation.

At the end of the regular season, with contract talks stalled, Leach traveled to Washington to meet with officials looking for a new coach. Tech athletic director Gerald Myers was not aware he'd gone.

In February, Leach and Tech agreed to a 5-year, $12.7 million deal that could keep him at the school through 2013.

In the Independence Bowl:

* At Shreveport, La., Joe Cox threw two touchdown passes, Caleb King added two rushing scores, and Georgia beat Texas A&M, 44-20.

Cox hit Aron White on touchdown passes of 24 and 2 yards in the second half as the Bulldogs (8-5) pulled away for their fourth straight bowl victory. It was the fourth straight postseason loss for the Aggies (6-7), who have not won a bowl since 2001. *