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Paris Ford skips Pitt trip to El Paso

The defensive back is reportedly in Pittsburgh for personal reasons

NCAA Football: Pittsburgh at Wake Forest Jeremy Brevard-USA TODAY Sports

Pitt defensive back Paris Ford did not travel to El Paso, Texas, with the Panthers ahead of the Sun Bowl for personal reasons, according to multiple reports on Thursday. The team arrived in the Sun City on Wednesday to a warm welcome, but the former four-star recruit out of Steel Valley High School was nowhere to be found during the festivities.

Rich Walsh of KDKA was the first to report that Ford was not with the team, and he later added that he was back in Pittsburgh. Walsh also noted that Ford could possibly make the trip down to Texas at a later date, suggesting he may still participate in the bowl next Monday. However, it was later revealed by Pitt’s staff that Ford may forgo the trip altogether.

Ford was not the only player to skip the team trip on Wednesday, as Pitt defensive back Bricen Garner also did not travel with the Panthers. Garner was not on the team’s flight for disciplinary reasons, according to Pitt head coach Pat Narduzzi, who discussed the situation after a team practice on Thursday.

“Bricen Garner didn’t make it down for discipline reasons, and Paris Ford for some personal reasons — family reasons,” Narduzzi told reporters. “So they won’t make it down, I don’t think. We’ll see how that goes.”

Thursday's news immediately led to speculation that Ford may no longer be with the team due to his limited role this year, but Narduzzi was quick to disspell those rumors, saying there was “no doubt” that both Ford and Garner were still members of the team.

Given the fact that neither defensive back played a prominent role in Pitt’s defense this season, the absences are unlikely to impact the team’s game plan for the Sun Bowl. However, with much expected of Ford in the coming years, it would be a major loss if he decided to leave the team.

Pitt is set to face Stanford in the Sun Bowl on Monday, and the kickoff is set for 2 p.m. ET.