Cavalier Camp: Meet the Team? Hello, Ahmad

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Ahmad Brooks

There was a nice surprise waiting for the thousands of fans who showed up for “Meet the Team” Day at Scott Stadium. Ahmad Brooks , the guy who caused a mini-uproar with his mysterious two-day absence from practice, was there in his No. 34 jersey, smiling, signing autographs and claiming that his “personal issues” are now behind him.

“Everybody’s happy that I’m here,” Brooks said. “I’m happy to be here myself.”

The sophomore linebacker, who led Virginia in tackles last season, also talked to reporters. UVa sports information officials said Brooks would only field questions about football-related topics, but Brooks did seem eager to squash a few rumors related to his brief hiatus from training camp.

“They blew everything up out of proportion,” he said. “I mean, I’ve heard stories that me and Coach Groh have got into arguments and disagreements, this and that. That’s not true. That has nothing to do with it. People say different stuff about me going to the NFL. I’ve never mentioned anything about me going to the NFL. So I don’t know. … People blew it out of proportion, saying different things about it, so I had to clear my name.”

Brooks did not elaborate on the “personal issues” that led to his brief departure, but he said they were not related to academics. He claims that he is eligible to play this season and will be back at practice Friday.

Brooks was not at practice Tuesday or Wednesday, sparking rampant speculation among fans. He went to his parents’ house in Woodbridge but returned to UVa on Wednesday night and attended a team meeting. At first, Brooks said that he never left Charlottesville. He later amended that by saying he meant that he never dropped out of school.

“I was just gone from football for two days,” he said.

Asked if he was surprised by Brooks’ quick return, Groh said, “I didn’t have expectations on that, but I knew he would be with us fairly