Colorado sophomore Paul Vigo walked on to the practice field for the first time in nearly a month Monday afternoon, knelt down and kissed the ground.
Coach Jon Embree reinstated Vigo and fellow sophomore Parker Orms from suspension and both practiced Monday as the Buffs prepare to host Southern California at Folsom Field on Friday night, coach Jon Embree said.
Orms and Vigo are not expected to play against the Trojans but both could return for next week's home game against Arizona if they prove in the next 10 days they are in shape and capable of helping the team.
Vigo said he feels like he let down his teammates.
"I wasn't paying attention to the things I was doing, and it was just something that the coach didn't approve of," Vigo said. "He ended up suspending us and at first, I took it as, 'This is messed up.' But as time passed, I had time to think and I realized it was a big learning lesson that I actually needed.
"I needed it so that I can work on other things and focus and put more effort into everything and be great at everything instead of just football."
Neither player discussed what they did to earn their suspensions but both Vigo and Orms said the punishment they received was fair and they look forward to doing what they can to help the Buffs win games in the final month of the season. CU has been eliminated from any postseason opportunities.
Orms was dealing with knee and hamstring injuries at the time of his suspension. He said the time off helped with those issues, but he did not claim to be completely healthy. He said his knees have bothered him throughout the fall.
"I think we deserved what we got and I think it will make me a stronger person and athlete," Orms said.
Embree said both Orms and Vigo worked diligently to resolve the issues that led to their suspensions. Each has missed the past four games and the Colorado defense has missed them.
"They went above and beyond," Embree said. "They really did. They went above and beyond in doing what was asked and so they earned their way back."
Embree suspended five players in the first week of October for team rules violations.
Three of those players have now worked their way back into good standing with coaches and their teammates. Redshirt freshman defensive back Josh Moten was the first to be welcomed back and he scored a touchdown for the Buffs in last week's loss at Arizona State.
Embree said fellow sophomores Ayodeji Olatoye and Liloa Nobriga remain suspended and both players are working toward regaining their good standing on the team.
"Nothing on the horizon for them," Embree said.
Injuries and the suspensions
The past four weeks has been one of the worst stretches defensively in the modern era of Colorado football. The Buffs have surrendered 193 points and 2,164 yards of total offense in the four games.
True freshman running back Malcolm Creer suffered a season-ending knee injury last week at Arizona State. Creer tore the medial collateral ligament and will need surgery.
Creer played in only two games after deciding to suspend his redshirt season following Stewart's injury. Creer is not eligible for a redshirt season because he played in the second half of the season.
The NCAA only awards medical redshirts to players who are injured in the first 33 percent of the season. Embree said the rule should be changed to allow medical redshirts to any player who suffers a major injury and plays less than 33 percent of the year regardless of win that injury occurs.
If Creer misses all or most of another season in his career because of an injury, he could be eligible for a sixth season of eligibility, but that decision would not be made until the end of five-year clock.
USC defender suspended
The Pac-12 suspended USC safety T.J. McDonald for the first half of this week's game with the Buffs after he delivered a hit on a defenseless opponent last week against Stanford.
The conference also fined USC coach Lane Kiffin $10,000 and reprimanded him for making comments about the officiating in the Trojans overtime loss to Stanford.
CU announced Monday the Arizona game -- the final home game of the season -- will kickoff at 12:30 p.m. on Nov. 12, and will be televised by Fox College Sports Pacific.