Fruita Monument grad back on field after Boulder fiasco

Colorado defensive lineman Eric Lawson, left, and tight end Riar Geer check the scoreboard as Colorado falls behind to No.9-Missouri in the fourth quarter of Missouri’s 55-10 victory in a Big-12 Conference college football game in Folsom Field in Boulder, Colo., on Saturday, Nov. 3, 2007. (AP Photo/David Zalubowski)

There may be no one more excited to play harder in front of a nationally-televised audience Thursday night than Riar Geer.

The University of Colorado junior tight end and Fruita Monument High School graduate will play in his first college game since facing felony assault charges that could have landed him in jail, likely ending his football career.

Geer, who missed the first two games of the season with a knee injury, is probable for Thursday’s game against No. 25 West Virginia. Kickoff is 6:30 p.m. at Folsom Field.

“That was the hard thing to face that I might not play football again,” Geer said. “It is good to be back on the team. I can’t tell you how excited I am.

“We definitely have our work cut out for us. We’re watching a lot of film and getting ready. It’s a blackout game.

It will be a packed house. There was no way I was going to miss this game. I would’ve been so angry.  I couldn’t ask for anything more.”

Geer, 21, was accused of punching two men at a Boulder party in March and was charged with felony assault and accepted a plea deal for his involvement in the fight. Instead of a second-degree felony assault, Geer pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor third-degree assault. He’ll also avoid jail time, but is sentenced to two years of probation and 50 hours of community service — instead of the maximum two years in jail, according to the Boulder Daily Camera.

“That was the hardest thing I went through my whole life,” Geer said. “I learned what kind of person I want to be. I’m not going to put myself in that situation. I have to watch what I do. If a football player does something wrong, the whole nation knows about it.

“I’m the only one that got in trouble. They made an example out of me.”

Geer, though, said he realized he made a mistake and vows to stay out of trouble.

“I was in the wrong,” Geer said. “A fight started, some guys were chirping at us. My friend got in a fight and was knocked to the ground. I went over to protect him.”

He has already started community service, working at a school, Geer said.

Colorado coach Dan Hawkins suspended Geer during the spring semester for his role in the fight and reinstated him in early August after Geer’s plea agreement.

“I’m proud of Riar’s growth,” Hawkins said. “He’s come a long ways as a person and football player. Guys go through situations. He’s stood up and has been accountable for his actions. He reacted in a responsible way.

College is not always easy. There is an adaptation to be made. He’s done awesome.

“You could see how much the incident impacted him. He understood the ramifications. He’s a good kid; he just got caught in a bad situation.”

Geer was reinstated, but his knee was giving him problems. A MRI discovered a partially torn meniscus, so
Geer had arthroscopic surgery four weeks ago.

Geer had declared himself ready to play in time for the Buffaloes blackout game against West Virginia. He led the Buffaloes in receiving in 2006 and Geer will rotate in with two other tight ends and could see time in the backfield and split out wide.

“I think I’ll do a little bit of everything,” Geer said. “I played fullback, tight end and split out at wide receiver (in practice). The tight end is as involved in the running game as the passing game.”

“It’s fun,” said Geer of playing fullback. “I love playing all different positions. I have the ability to do different things. It’s exciting.”

“He is a prototype tight end,” Hawkins said. “We’ve missed him as a player. We’re looking forward to having him back. He can do it all.”

Colorado (2-0) enters the game with momentum after rallying to defeat Eastern Washington nearly two weeks ago.

“It’s better to have two in the left (win) column than in the right (loss) column,” Hawkins said. “We’re showing some emotional growth. We’re maturing. (The two wins) show we have the ability to get it done when we need it.

“It will be an awesome game for us. Everyday is a great opportunity.”


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