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FSU dismisses running back Mario Pender after arrest

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It didn’t take Florida State long to divest itself from running back Mario Pender.

The Seminoles removed Pender from the team Saturday evening, only hours after he was arrested for domestic violence and resisting arrest.

“(Pender) has been permanently dismissed from the football team following his arrest earlier in the day,” the school said in a statement. “The athletic department will have no further comment at this time.”

Pender was ranked as the fourth-best running back in 2012 class. However, he has struggled to stay on the field. He was redshirted in 2012, academically ineligible in 2014. Injuries limited him in 2014 and 2015, including a collapsed lung in 2015.

In 2011, as a high school senior, Pender was arrested by Cape Coral police after an altercation with his girlfriend. The police report said that during a dispute inside the car, he hit her with a right backhand before asking her to get out and give him the keys. The charges were later dropped by the state attorney’s office due to lack of evidence, according to the Tallahassee Democrat.

Pender found himself in the middle of another incident in December 2013  along with his half brother, Tim Pruitt, former FSU offensive lineman Ira Denson and Denson’s friend Tarron Addison. Denson stole Pender’s debit card; then Pender stole Denson’s shoes as a form of collateral, and a meeting to return the items turned violent as Addison allegedly shot Pruitt in his head, according to court documents obtained by the Orlando Sentinel.

Gary Shelton is one of the most recognized and honored sportswriters in the history of the state. He has won the APSE's national columnist of the year twice and finished in the top 10 eight times. He was named the Florida Sportswriter of the Year six times. Gary joined SaintPetersBlog in the spring, helping to bring a sports presence to the website. Over his time in sports writing, Gary has covered 29 Super Bowls, 10 Olympics, Final Fours, Masters, Wimbledons and college national championships. He was there when the Bucs won a Super Bowl, when the Lightning won a Stanley Cup and when the Rays went to a World Series. He has seen Florida, FSU and Miami all win national championships, and he covered Bear Bryant, Bobby Bowden and Don Shula along the way. He and his wife Janet have four children: Eric, Kevin, K.C. and Tori. To contact, visit

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