The 2012 quarterback from Plant City, Fla., was suspended from the Plant City High School football team earlier this month for an undisclosed violation of team rules.
“It wasn’t nothing big,” Coney said of the infraction, an in-house issue that led to Raiders head coach Wayne Ward dismissing him from the team. “I guess he had got tired of it.”
At first, it seemed like Coney might try to transfer somewhere else to play his senior season, but Coney and Ward have smoothed things out and he will return to play his senior season there in 2011.
“Me and my coach, we’re good,” Coney said. “My coach is cool. We talk every day. We’ve still got our relationship.”
Coney was suspended for a game earlier this season and took it as a learning experience. He’s doing that again this time. This sounds like a case of a kid learning how to become a man and Coney is taking the necessary steps to mature.
“I’m actually learning from it,” he said. “Learning that I’ve got to make better choices and not let everything get to me.”
His coach has been in contact with college coaches to explain what happened and it’s doubtful that even a school like Notre Dame would view the incident as an infraction that would cause them to drop Coney from its radar. Coney is still interested in the Irish and, although they haven’t offered, they lead along with Florida State.
But Coney isn’t worried about himself right now.
“I want my teammates to know how sorry I am,” he said. “It ain’t all about me all of the time. I just want to let them know I’m deeply sorry for the position I put them in by messing up.”
It’s extremely important to the 6-foot-2, 205-pound quarterback to gain the forgiveness of his teammates.
“We’re all friends, but we don’t call each other friends,” he said. “We call each other brothers. We break every day, ‘Family!’ I consider them all family to me.”
While Coney is taking the necessary steps to improve himself for himself, his “brothers” provide another source of inspiration.
“I’m going to be a better person so that they can trust me again,” he said. “I’m making adjustments so that I feel welcome. They’re the ones helping me get to the next level. It’s not just about the coaches. It starts with them. If they do good, I get looked at. If I do good, they get looked at. It’s not all about me, it’s about them too.”
Coney finishes his junior season with 1,159 passing yards, 12 touchdowns tosses and eight interceptions while rushing for another 363 yards and five touchdowns on 48 carries. The Raiders were able to win their first two games without Coney and he will continue supporting them away from the field until he can rejoin them on it.
“I just can’t wait,” he said. “I’m working, trying to get this attitude right so I can get back on the field.” He might not agree with the severity of the punishment, but Bennie Coney is going to learn from it.