Gopher safety Antoine Winfield

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Gophers' Winfield out for the season with foot injury

Injury happened in loss at Maryland

September 24, 2018 - 5:43 am

   MINNEAPOLIS (AP) - Minnesota sophomore safety Antoine Winfield Jr. is out for the rest of the season after injuring his left foot in the first quarter of the Big Ten opener at Maryland.

   Coach P.J. Fleck said Sunday the Gophers were "heartbroken" for Winfield, who suffered a season-ending injury for the second straight year in the 42-13 loss Saturday. 

   Last season, Winfield, whose father was an all-pro safety for the Vikings, played in only four games and was granted a medical redshirt after suffering a hamstring injury.

   Fleck said the team believes Winfield will meet the NCAA's waiver requirement for a sixth year of eligibility. If granted, Winfield would have three years left.

   Winfield had a punt return for a touchdown this season, plus an interception and a fumble recovery.

   Recruited out of The Woodlands High School in Texas, Winfield played in all 12 games as a freshman in 2016 before he and nine others were suspended by the U of M following an investigation into an alleged sexual assault.

   Winfield and the others were never charged by authorities and the suspensions led to a player boycott of practice before the Holiday Bowl.

   The players eventually returned to the field, and Winfield was one of five players who were eventually reinstated to the football program.

   Winfield had considered leaving the U, but decided to stay with the Gophers after coach PJ Fleck replaced the fired Tracy Claeys.