Published: Tuesday, February 8, 2005 at 6:01 a.m.

Suspended Florida linebacker Taurean Charles, facing aggravated battery and culpable negligence charges, has moved closer to gaining a resolution in his legal matters.

His future with the UF football team, however, remains in doubt.

At a case management hearing in Alachua County Court on Monday, Charles asked for and received a change-of-plea hearing date for Feb. 21. At that time, his case is likely to be resolved.

Robert Rush, Charles' attorney, said he has been working with the State Attorney's Office on a possible plea agreement where Charles would plead no contest or guilty to culpable negligence and the aggravated battery charge would be dropped.

"We want to go through it (a possible plea agreement) very carefully," Rush said. "We still don't agree on all the facts, like how it happened. But we agree on a resolution in terms of a plea. The plea is going to be to a charge of culpable negligence basically.

"I want the judge to see all the community service Taurean did while he was out of football for a year. He did a lot of commendable things. A lot of people could have transferred and cried about it, but he didn't. Hopefully, on the 21st, it will be resolved for everybody."

Charles, 20, was arrested on July 20 after authorities said he punched a UF student in the head and threw a beer keg on his face during a party across from campus. He has been under indefinite suspension from the football team since then, but has remained in school, hoping to possibly return when his case is resolved.

"I need to get this out of the way before I can do anything," Charles said Monday.

Charles said he has talked to some of the UF assistant coaches and is holding out hope he'll be able to return to the team in the spring.

Charles said he has had conversations with safeties coach Doc Holliday, the former assistant coach at North Carolina State who heavily recruited Charles coming out of Miami Northwestern.

"He knows me and my family," Charles said. "I told him exactly what happened (in the fight). He understood. He just said take care of it and try to get back in time for the spring."

Rush said he and Charles expect to meet with the UF coaches and athletic director Jeremy Foley after the case is resolved to discuss Charles' status with the team.

"We want to explain to them everything that went on, all the details, both sides of the story," Rush said. "In that whole melee, he was the only one charged. There were other people who threw punches and other people who were punched."

You can reach Robbie Andreu by e-mail at andreur@gvillesun.com or by calling (352) 374-5022.