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Pitt suspends cornerback Howard

| Friday, Aug. 1, 2014, 4:51 p.m.
Chaz Palla | Tribune-Review
In this file photo, PItt cornerback Titus Howard defends on a pass intended for Devin Street during practice Thursday, Aug. 22, 2013, in the South Side. Howard has been suspended by the Panthers for the entire 2014 season.

Pitt lost another key member of its defense Friday when coach Paul Chryst suspended sophomore cornerback Titus Howard for the season. Howard was listed No. 1 on a depth chart Chryst issued last month.

Chryst did not comment on the reason for Howard's suspension.

Howard, who played on Clairton's four PIAA and WPIAL Class A championship teams, was an important reserve last season. He played in 11 games and started against Old Dominion on Oct. 19 and Bowling Green in the Little Caesars Pizza Bowl on Dec. 26. Overall, he recorded 21 tackles and two pass breakups.

He was expected to compete with former Clairton teammate Trenton Coles for the starting cornerback position vacated when K'Waun Williams graduated.

Freshman cornerbacks Avonte Maddox and Phillipie Motley should receive additional opportunities behind Coles when training camp opens Monday. Freshman safety Patrick Amara played cornerback in the Big 33 game this season.

Under terms of the suspension, Howard will be permitted to remain with the program and can practice, but he will be ineligible for games. Wide receiver Ronald Jones and defensive tackle K.K. Mosley-Smith were suspended under similar terms last season and reinstated this year.

Pitt lost six starters to graduation from last year's defense, including Williams; All-American defensive tackle Aaron Donald, a first-round draft choice with the St. Louis Rams; defensive tackle Ty Ezell; linebacker Shane Gordon and safety Jason Hendricks. Plus, defensive end Bryan Murphy left the program earlier this year, and reserve end Ejuan Price was lost for the season with a pectoral injury.

Jerry DiPaola is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. Reach him at jdipaola@tribweb.com or via Twitter @JDiPaola_Trib.

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