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KNOXVILLE -- Janzen Jackson's attempted aggravated robbery charge was dropped this morning, but the freshman's future with the University of Tennessee football program is still uncertain.

Jackson, the Volunteers' starting free safety before missing the last three games because of separate disciplinary issues, was in class when prosecutors announced their decision to drop charges.

Nu'Keese Richardson and Mike Edwards, the two former Vols still charged in the incident, are due back in court for a Jan. 20 preliminary hearing.

Jackson's attorney, Don Bosch, said he'd known since Friday that Jackson would be cleared of wrongdoing in the Nov. 12 incident. He said he knew long before then that his client deserved such a fate.

"This is not a plea bargain," Bosch said. "This is not anything that Mr. Jackson agreed to. We have said all along that Janzen Jackson did not commit a crime in this matter. Our investigation determined that very quickly.

"This is the right decision for the state. We're somewhat distressed that, unfortunately, it took as long as it did. But we're very happy this occurred this morning."

A statement from the Knox County district attorney's office claimed that an "intensive investigation ... failed to show that Mr. Jackson had prior knowledge that the attempted armed robbery was going to take place."

The statement also said Jackson was "unaware something had occurred" until he'd left the scene, and that he fully cooperated with the investigation.

"Therefore, there is an insufficient legal basis to continue a prosecution," the statement said.

Tennessee coach Lane Kiffin doesn't typically speak with reporters on Monday, the team's off day, and attempts to contact him weren't immediately successful.

Kiffin has said since the initial aftermath that he would avoid "rash decisions" and act only after gathering enough information about the incident. Edwards and Richardson were dismissed from the program on Nov. 16.

Jackson missed the past two games and hasn't practiced with the team since his arrest. He did not play against Memphis after violating undisclosed team rules.

"That's between the player and the coach, between Janzen and Coach Kiffin," Bosch said.

Lawyers representing Edwards and Richardson declined to discuss specifics of the case.

Edwards' attorney, David Eldridge, issued a statement saying his client "recognizes that he made a terribly poor mistake of judgment in putting himself in that position.

"And since this incident, he has tried to make the right decisions," added Eldridge, who said he would continue to investigate the incident in preparation for the January hearing.

Richardson's attorney, Jamie Poston, told the Knoxville News Sentinel that her client was "a good kid."

"And there's a lot more to this case than meets the eye," Poston added.

Other contacts for Wes Rucker are www.twitter.com/wesrucker or www.facebook.com/tfpvolsbeat.

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