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Auburn DB Stephen Roberts suspended for season-opener

Auburn defensive back Stephen Roberts lines up at practice on Thursday, Aug. 4, 2016 at the university's athletic complex.
Auburn defensive back Stephen Roberts lines up at practice on Thursday, Aug. 4, 2016 at the university's athletic complex. mniziolek@ledger-enquirer.com

Auburn coach Gus Malzahn announced defensive back Stephens Roberts is suspended for Saturday’s opener against Clemson.

The Opelika High School alum was arrested for fleeing police and possession of an unlincensed hand gun last week. The lone statement on the matter put out by the athletic department was that Malzahn was gathering facts on the situation.

Roberts was pulled over for a traffic stop on Harmon Drive in Auburn at 10:30 p.m on Aug. 24. Both charges are considered Class A misdemeanors carrying a maximum penalty of a year in jail and $6,000 fine.

“We will be playing without Stephen Roberts,” Malzahn said. “Stephen's going to be suspended for this game.”

Malzahn didn’t give many details when asked for the team’s specific policy on firearms. The coach doesn’t want players to have handguns — licensed or unlicensed — but it isn’t clear if a player would be punished for legally owning a handgun.

Roberts future with the team will be determined on a week-to-week basis with Malzahn evaluating “how he responds.”

“We'll see what happens,” Malzahn said.

The junior, who started the team’s final three regular season games last year, was expected to start at safety. Last year, he had 26 tackles, 16 solo, and three pass deflections.

Roberts wasn’t listed on the team’s opening week depth chart released Tuesday.

“I do feel good about the secondary that we do have back there, specifically the safeties, the position that he played,” Malzahn said. “We've had a good fall camp.”

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