GAINESVILLE (AP) - With a whistle around his neck and a smile on his face, Florida coach Urban Meyer returned to practice Wednesday following a leave of absence that turned out to be shorter than everyone expected.
His stay could be longer than anticipated, too, although Meyer declined to divulge any details about his health, but said his return is permanent.
"I feel fine and I feel good," Meyer said following a rain-soaked practice that lasted nearly three hours.
His brief break came as a result of chest pains, a hospital stay and brief resignation. He had planned to step away after Florida's bowl game in early January, but stuck around to hire four assistant coaches and lock up the nation's No. 1 recruiting class.
He was supposed to return for spring practice, which began Wednesday, but his first day back actually came two weeks ago.
Nonetheless, he eased into things Wednesday and was considerably less involved in several aspects of team drills.
"I didn't know what to expect," he said. "Usually I'm more involved in kicking game and a little more involved in the offense. I will get back involved. I think spring time I'm usually like this. I like to let the guys coach and let everybody do their job and see what we've got. We've got four new coaches, and I want to see them go."
Meyer believes he has enough talent to avoid a drop-off after the Gators finished 13-1 and lost 2007 Heisman Trophy winner (Tim Tebow), their top three receivers and their best three defenders.