FIU Panthers football players and coaches were overjoyed on Friday when offensive lineman Mershawn Miller showed up at the team walk-through practice.
Miller and running back Anthony Jones were visiting a friend last Thursday afternoon in Opa-locka when they were injured in what police say was a drive-by shooting. Both players were transported to the Ryder Trauma Center at Jackson Memorial Hospital, and Miller, who was shot in the arm, was soon released.
Jones was shot in the face and back, but the injuries are not considered life-threatening.
“Anthony is doing much better,” FIU coach Butch Davis said. “A lot of us got the chance to talk to him the night the incident happened.
“It’s God’s blessing [that both players survived]. Like I told our team, this is a moment of celebration. This could’ve been a lot worse.”
Davis said Jones — who usually greets visitors with an engaging smile — is a “fabulous” young man.
“Every kid on our team loves him,” Davis said. “[The incident] was gut-wrenching to hear about, but the doctors are giving us information every day, and a lot of our players are talking to [Jones’] mom.”
Beyond that, Davis declined further comment on the shooting.
FIU players, however, kept Jones and Miller in their thoughts, bringing their jerseys onto the field this past Saturday in Norfolk, Virginia, where the Panthers rallied to defeat host Old Dominion, 28-20.
Lightning caused a 131-minute delay in the second quarter, and only a few dozen fans returned to watch the latter stage of the game.
FIU (1-1) will play host to Massachusetts (1-2) on Saturday night at 7:30. The Panthers beat U-Mass 63-45 last year in Miami.
THIS AND THAT
▪ FIU men’s soccer team, which started the season ranked 20th in the nation but then lost its first three games, has finally gotten untracked.
The Panthers beat host Marshall 2-1 in overtime in their Conference USA opener on Friday. FIU senior Santiago Patino, a first-team All-American who scored 15 goals last season, beat Marshall’s defense twice on Friday, in the 40th and 92nd minutes. He has three goals in his past two games after a slow start to the season. He also had eight of FIU’s 10 shots against Marshall.
▪ Former FIU tight end Jonnu Smith caught one pass for 12 yards in his homecoming as his Tennessee Titans lost 27-20 to the host Dolphins on Sunday.
▪ Former FIU catcher Aramis Garcia hit another homer on Wednesday, this one against the Colorado Rockies. He has two homers in his first four major-league games.