Georgia RB James Cook may have to sit out Sugar Bowl

November 30, 2019 Atlanta: Georgia tailback James Cook stretches for extra yardage past Georgia Tech defender Jaylon King during the first half in a NCAA college football game on Saturday, November 30, 2019, in Atlanta.  Curtis Compton/ccompton@ajc.com
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November 30, 2019 Atlanta: Georgia tailback James Cook stretches for extra yardage past Georgia Tech defender Jaylon King during the first half in a NCAA college football game on Saturday, November 30, 2019, in Atlanta. Curtis Compton/ccompton@ajc.com

Credit: Curtis Compton

Credit: Curtis Compton

Georgia running back James Cook may be forced to sit out the Sugar Bowl based on information contained within a police report detailing his early Saturday morning arrest.

That report, prepared by Athens-Clarke County police in the hours following a 12:44 a.m. traffic stop in downtown Athens, states that Cook admitted to smoking marijuana shortly before he was pulled over. That puts Cook in violation of the UGA Athletic Association’s marijuana-use policy, which calls for suspension of at least one game for football players.

Another football player was riding in the passenger seat and was identified in the report. However, he was not charged with any crimes.

Georgia coach Kirby Smart is aware of the incident but has not yet made a statement. The No. 5 Bulldogs (11-2) resume practice this week in preparation for New Year’s Day bowl game against No. 7 Baylor (11-2) in New Orleans. A press conference is scheduled Wednesday to discuss the Sugar Bowl and the early signing period in recruiting.

Suspicion over a dealer tag on the 2017 Dodge Charger Cook was driving led police to initiate a traffic stop on Clayton Street near The Classic Center, according to the report obtained by The Atlanta Journal-Constitution on Monday after an open-records request. That stop resulted in Cook’s arrest on two misdemeanor charges - driving without a valid license and possession of an open container of alcohol.

In the course of the stop, police reported “the strong odor of burnt marijuana.” Asked if there was any marijuana in the vehicle, Cook told the officer there was not “because he smoked it.”

Cook’s passenger was making “furtive movements,” according to the report, and was ordered to keep his hands in sight as the investigation continued. Officers were told by the passenger that his “Glock Model 19 pistol was in the glove compartment.” The gun cleared a check for “wants.”

Since no other marijuana “other than shake” was found in the vehicle, Cook was not charged with possession. The alcohol charge was the result of an unsealed 1.75 liter bottle of Hennessy Cognac being found behind the driver’s seat.

Cook was handcuffed and transported to Athens-Clarke County Jail. He posted $1,000 bond on each charge was released a short time later.

A sophomore from Miami, Cook was expected to play a big role for the Bulldogs in the Sugar Bowl. Georgia also may be without starting running back D’Andre Swift, a junior who is contemplating early-entry in the NFL Draft and could choose to skip the bowl game.

That would leave the Bulldogs with senior Brian Herrien and freshmen Zamir White and Kenny McIntosh as primary ball-carriers against Baylor.

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