"First off, I would like to say, apologize to the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Just based on my actions from that night of the incident that everybody saw in the video, truly embarrassed from it. Just wish it never happened. That action really doesn't reflect who I am."
Those were the first words from Wisconsin Badgers junior running back Corey Clement when he spoke to the media on Wednesday afternoon at the McClain Center.
The highly-touted game breaker has had a rough 2015 season, perhaps an understatement. After publicly confirming his goal was to rush for 2,000 yards this season during Big Ten media days in July, Clement suffered what turned out to be a sports hernia injury that's sidelined him for the majority of the Badgers' 9-3 season -- rushing for only 155 yards on 29 carries.
Off the field, Clement was cited twice for disorderly conduct in a Nov. 8 incident where police reported he threw the first punch in a "melee" while using "derogatory and sexually explicit language" to the opposing party.
Here are the highlights from his conversation with reporters:
- Thanked friends and family for helping him through the ordeal
- When asked about not being truthful at first, he said he was caught up in it and didn't have a train of thought and "said whatever came to my mind."
- In terms of health, CLement noted he practiced three days in a row and has felt better each day. "Every day I'm taking it one step at a time, and hopefully one practice can lead to another, and pretty soon, I'll be playing with the guys down in San Diego."
- Clement said he was a full participant in practices
- He was healthy enough to play against Minnesota
- In conversations with his teammates, said he felt at home and wasn't really being questioned by his friends and team.
- Legal process is done, as Clement did note he paid the citations and will not go to court.
- Wisconsin head coach Paul Chryst was very understanding, according to Clement, but Clement accepted the comments and criticism from him. Chryst wanted Clement to tell the truth, and Clement hopes it's a mistake to move on from.
- Clement said the Holiday Bowl vs. USC will be an important game. Said time isn't on his side in terms of health, but during this time of the season, a lot of players aren't 100 percent and have to suck it up.
- He will be coming back for his senior season, and hopes to make the College Football Playoff
- Clement didn't bother to try for an NFL evaluation grade
- He admitted he's waiting "for the ball to drop" to start 2016
- Goals for 2016? "To play. That's primary. To play the number one role that I've dreamed of doing. Grabbing the guys around me, and putting this team on the path that we should be -- and that's making it to the playoffs."
- Excited the progress of the young offensive line? "Very excited. Coach Rudy is doing a great job with those guys. Too excited." Said the young line's fought through adversity and progression has been seen from game one until now.
- Clement said he wasn't intoxicated the night of the incident, and said he hasn't seen the other party since the event.
- He says he's about 85 percent healthy, but says only time will heal this process. Will work on strength and conditioning during the offseason to get back where he wants to be.