football Edit

It's official: Senior LB Matthew Thomas cleared, should play vs. Alabama

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9:20 p.m. Update

It's official -- senior linebacker Matthew Thomas has been cleared to return to the Florida State football team and is expected to play Saturday against No. 1 Alabama, a university spokesman has confirmed to Warchant.

Earlier in the day, FSU coach Jimbo Fisher said Thomas would play against the Crimson Tide if available.

Wednesday evening update

After missing three weeks of preseason practice due to an eligibility issue, senior linebacker Matthew Thomas has been cleared to return to the Florida State football team, a source confirmed to Warchant on Wednesday evening.

Thomas is expected to be available to play this Saturday against Alabama.

Wednesday morning update

Two days after saying he expected senior linebacker Matthew Thomas to return to practice, Florida State coach Jimbo Fisher confirmed Wednesday that Thomas has not returned. But he also said he hasn't ruled him out for Saturday's season opener.

Fisher also acknowledged for the first time publicly that Thomas is facing an "eligibility" issue.

During his appearance on the ACC Coaches Teleconference, Fisher said the coaches thought he would have returned by now. He added that Thomas has been working out on his own and knows the system well as a fifth-year senior.

When pressed on whether he was concerned he would not have Thomas available, Fisher said, "Until he gets there, you're always concerned."

Thomas, who led the Seminoles with 77 tackles last fall and finished the year with a career-high 15 stops against Michigan in the Orange Bowl, has been held out of practice since he wrapped up the first week of preseason camp. Fisher originally said that Thomas was sick but later acknowledged "other things" were keeping him out of practice.

During Thomas' absence, the Seminoles primarily used sophomore Emmett Rice at his weakside linebacker position. Rice, who is listed at 6-foot-2, 203 pounds, played in 12 games last season as a true freshman and recorded 12 tackles -- mostly on special teams.

Stay connected with Warchant.com for more on this story.

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