Berry doesn't participate in Last Tackle

Tennessee offensive lineman Vladimir Richard hits the tackling dummy during Thursday's 'Last Tackle' as teammates cheer him on.

Elizabeth Olivier/UTsports.com

Tennessee offensive lineman Vladimir Richard hits the tackling dummy during Thursday's 'Last Tackle' as teammates cheer him on.

Although it shouldn’t be considered a strong indicator of his future plans, junior safety Eric Berry did not participate in the traditional last tackle drill on Thursday morning.

The rite of passage is usually for seniors, but it was unsure if Berry would take part in the ceremonial drill considering most believe he’ll forgo his senior year and enter the NFL draft.

The last tackle drill consists of each senior tackling a blocking pad dressed in Kentucky gear.

UT first-year coach Lane Kiffin said he continued the tradition after conferring with some of UT’s team leaders.

“I didn’t know anything about it,” Kiffin said. “Someone brought it up to me so I asked a couple of seniors what they thought of it. They said they wanted to continue doing it.”

Wes Brown of Tennessee participates in the 'Last Tackle' during Thursday's practice.

Elizabeth Olivier/UTsports.com

Wes Brown of Tennessee participates in the "Last Tackle" during Thursday's practice.

Another longtime tradition made UT’s players somewhat hard to recognize, as they switched jerseys before practice.

Kiffin said it’s normal for players to be less focused than usual since many have Thanksgiving and/or travel on their mind.

“I thought practice was OK today,” he said.

One player looked plenty focused, according to Kiffin. Freshman Safety Janzen Jackson was impressive in his third practice after being banned from the program following attempted armed robbery charges on Nov. 12. Those charges were dropped Monday. Jackson returned to practice Tuesday.

“He looks great,” Kiffin said. “He’ll be playing every snap on defense and special teams for us.”

Kiffin said linebackers Savion Frazier (knee) and Greg King had successful surgery on Wednesday. Kiffin said cornerback Marsalous Johnson (thumb) is fine.

Kiffin said cornerback Art Evans (shoulder), receiver Zach Rogers (undisclosed) and defensive ends Ben Martin (hip) and Chris Walker (elbow) will be gametime decisions.

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Comments » 79

utvolz#637682 writes:

ONE MORE YEAR!

Vol43 writes:

Where is everybody?

utvolz#637682 writes:

And first to say GO VOLS, KICK SOME CAT A**

Vol43 writes:

This may enable no.14 to close ranks with the linebackers. Oh yeah! Sweet.

281Vol writes:

Does anyone know if Eric's parents are still out of work? The last I heard he needs the money from the NFL to help out his family.

metalhead223 writes:

Good luck Eric, you did good here. I pray the next level gives you the same success.

CrankE writes:

On this Thanksgiving, I'm thankful for Eric Berry deciding to come to Tennessee. I'm thankful that he's been a class act off the field and a ferocious, smart defender on it. When I think of players that epitomize "I WILL GIVE MY ALL FOR TENNESSEE TODAY" Eric Berry is among the very highest on the list.

Ringside writes:

Will be interesting to see where he is projected to go in the draft. If anywhere outside the top 15, I think he should come back. IMO, it will come down to that. It would be good to see him and jackson together again next year. What a duo.
Blitz,
Kissimmee, FL

Huttdawg100 writes:

Although I'd love to see Eric Berry come back for his senior season, I think he has to do what's best for his family. After seeing the injuries of Sam Bradford, I don't blame Eric Berry at all if he elected to go to the NFL.

rudy123 writes:

in response to 281Vol:

Does anyone know if Eric's parents are still out of work? The last I heard he needs the money from the NFL to help out his family.

I find it hard to believe that there is not a U.T. alum in Georgia who can hire Mr. Berry and
in turn help this football team out!!!!

ncvol17 writes:

wish the Titans could get him this draft. Probably go to some hell hole of the NFL like KC, Seattle, or Oakland...the $$$ will help his family.. his father gave his all for UT and so has Eric..a great kid...

roloyo writes:

The last I seen he was projected a no.5 pick. I'm just wondering how much his ins. policy is for, in case he does decide to come back? Whatever he decides,he has been a class act and a role model for the whole team........you listening JJ????

cobbwebb writes:

in response to ncvol17:

wish the Titans could get him this draft. Probably go to some hell hole of the NFL like KC, Seattle, or Oakland...the $$$ will help his family.. his father gave his all for UT and so has Eric..a great kid...

nooooooooooooooooooooo! not the titans! imo berry would fit in nicely in south florida!

Ringside writes:

in response to roloyo:

The last I seen he was projected a no.5 pick. I'm just wondering how much his ins. policy is for, in case he does decide to come back? Whatever he decides,he has been a class act and a role model for the whole team........you listening JJ????

Good comment. I can't see him coming back at that pick. That's some major cash up front.
And ditto on your JJ mention.

rudy123 writes:

Not to change the subject, but does anyone know just how many of the upcoming class will report to campus on January? I heard the Bray will, the receiver from Illinois and a couple of the J.C. players. It would be nice to get several of them in a semester early for spring practice.

mnvol writes:

in response to rudy123:

I find it hard to believe that there is not a U.T. alum in Georgia who can hire Mr. Berry and
in turn help this football team out!!!!

It would be nice if a UT Alum provided Mr. Berry with a job, but any connection of the employer with UT, however subtle or unintentional, would trigger an NCAA investigation.

dowhatsright writes:

in response to metalhead223:

Good luck Eric, you did good here. I pray the next level gives you the same success.

Well said.

bobbytodd writes:

in response to 281Vol:

Does anyone know if Eric's parents are still out of work? The last I heard he needs the money from the NFL to help out his family.

His dad has said he doesn't have a job but he is not anywhere close to being put out in the streets. He said he is fine with whatever decision Eric makes and and isn't pushing him to go pro for support. It was in an interview out just a few weeks ago.

jbc writes:

If he is a #5 pick or even a little lower he should go. Seems like I saw the max policy that would be written for
this sort of circumstance and it did not come close to covering what he would lose skipping a year at #5.

Does anyone have any info on those types of policies?

Gator_Hater (Inactive) writes:

in response to rudy123:

Not to change the subject, but does anyone know just how many of the upcoming class will report to campus on January? I heard the Bray will, the receiver from Illinois and a couple of the J.C. players. It would be nice to get several of them in a semester early for spring practice.

I think Jawaun James will, and if Luc really is a silent commit (don't count on it) I think he graduates in December.

olozbal#646632 writes:

in response to bobbytodd:

His dad has said he doesn't have a job but he is not anywhere close to being put out in the streets. He said he is fine with whatever decision Eric makes and and isn't pushing him to go pro for support. It was in an interview out just a few weeks ago.

His Dad is out on disability from his union job at the Owens Corning plant in Fairburn, GA.

kdaff51 writes:

My thinkin is that JJ will have one hell of a game Sat......

bobbytodd writes:

in response to olozbal#646632:

His Dad is out on disability from his union job at the Owens Corning plant in Fairburn, GA.

But that doesn't mean he is unable to survive. Don't get me wrong, Berry is going pro. I just think that his dad is going out of his way to be a good parent a not put a burden on his son.

Souther writes:

Volumes will be written about this man's career, no matter what his decision. Go Vols, and Go Eric!

orangepridenation writes:

in response to cobbwebb:

nooooooooooooooooooooo! not the titans! imo berry would fit in nicely in south florida!

IMO berry's gonna fit in nicely wherever he goes, and Nashville is certainly no exception with the way that pass defense is struggling. imagine the titans secondary with finnegan, griffin, hope, harper, hood, and then BERRY!!!

orangepridenation writes:

bottom line is, put yourself in EB's shoes. If you were projected to go in the top 5 of the NFL draft at which point you sign a contract worth millions, OR you could come back to a rebuilding program that will more than likely still be going through some growing pains next year, what would you do? It would be absolutely AWESOME if he stayed for one more year, but a top 5 draft pick just isn't an offer that one can give up to chance. I wish the best for Eric in whatever he decides to do.

crimsonviper writes:

in response to Ringside:

Will be interesting to see where he is projected to go in the draft. If anywhere outside the top 15, I think he should come back. IMO, it will come down to that. It would be good to see him and jackson together again next year. What a duo.
Blitz,
Kissimmee, FL

Agree with that Blitz.
I think a lot of people assume he will turn pro.I also think people should not assume anything about Eric Berry.
He has proven he is not like everybody else.
Players of his character don't come often.I have enjoyed watching him as so many others have.
I hope he stays.I would love to see him one more year...GBO

DownTheField writes:

Hopefully for those on our defense who did participate, it won't be their "last tackle."

FEARinSEC writes:

I really have to say that I think EB will be back next year.... Look at the hints. First, there was the big deal made about him running through the T with the seniors... Didn't happen. Now he doesn't participate in the "Last Tackle" tradition... I hear he and Monte (along with the rest of the staff) have really befriended each other... The unity of the team this year has been incredible! Not to mention the fact that #14 BLEEDS ORANGE!!

Not gonna say "book it", but look at the signs and I believe all VOLS fans have a very pleasant surprise coming in the near future!

EB, whatever your decision, THANK you for so proudly and honorably donning the BIG ORANGE!!!

GO VOLS!!!

kthompson#255227 writes:

Does any one know what Greg King's surgery was? I may have missed it, but I haven't seen any reports as to what his injury was. I was watching with my binoculars Saturday night, and it looked like wrist or arm, maybe. The people on the far sidelines were pretty demonstrative when he went down calling the UT trainers.

CoverOrange writes:

in response to jbrantleez:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Two words EB should consider for his future:

Arian Foster.

V_O_L_S_GO_VOLS_GO writes:

in response to jbrantleez:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Ahhh... I was waiting for the call of the interlopers....

Have fun when lil Urbie bolts to Notre Lame. The fall of Rome has begun.

Fryinpansvols writes:

in response to 281Vol:

Does anyone know if Eric's parents are still out of work? The last I heard he needs the money from the NFL to help out his family.

The correct response to your question was answered last weekend in an article about whether or not Berry was going to run through the "T" that seniors do for the last home game. When James Berry was interviewed he said that his family is not in any financial trouble that the media had mentioned. Both parents had work and EB and family will have a sit down to discuss future plans. Mr. Berry also said that it would be Eric's decision and his decision only.

colt writes:

Berry will go pro. There is really no option (risk/reward factor}. The Colts are going to trade Bob Sanders and end up with Berry. Book it.

spvol writes:

I can't think of a single NFL team that would not like to have a guy who can cover AND hit like EB. Great three year ride! Do what's in your best interest.

volpreacher writes:

I think that Berry is going to stay. That's his big surprise Saturday. Getting hurt at DB is a lot harder to do than at QB or RB or WR. I believe he stays. Manning was a top 5 pick if he had left and probably no. 1 but stayed. I think he stays.

VolFanInTheBoro (Inactive) writes:

in response to kthompson#255227:

Does any one know what Greg King's surgery was? I may have missed it, but I haven't seen any reports as to what his injury was. I was watching with my binoculars Saturday night, and it looked like wrist or arm, maybe. The people on the far sidelines were pretty demonstrative when he went down calling the UT trainers.

chipped bone on his elbow

TXbigorangefan writes:

Scouts Inc. has EB on top of the big board. I guess monte knows what he's talking about.

HallowedHill writes:

Please Mr. Berry, may we have another?

vol_chaz writes:

If he's not coming back, what is the big surprise coming from Mr. Berry? Wildcat option? Running kicks back? IMO, i think he's going to come back..

murrayvol writes:

in response to Witch_Doctor:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

That's been my posistion for awhile.

All season I thought it was a done deal. Not so sure now.

arlvol writes:

We need Elam to replace EB.

brokebackvol writes:

I gotta agree with Witchy on this one - I'm just worried that if he passed up this chance and got hurt next year (which is still going to be another rebuilding year), how guilty we would all feel.

I want the best for all of our boys in Orange and White, and if the best means take the money and run, then I would tell EB to his face - PLEASE don't come back unless you are sure your life will be diminished by not playing senior year at UTK.

2407westTN_VOLSfan writes:

in response to volpreacher:

I think that Berry is going to stay. That's his big surprise Saturday. Getting hurt at DB is a lot harder to do than at QB or RB or WR. I believe he stays. Manning was a top 5 pick if he had left and probably no. 1 but stayed. I think he stays.

Volpreacher, I think you are on to something. I am thinking the same thing. EB passed on the run through the T at the final home game and also passed on the last tackle tradition. The BIG suprise Kiffin is talking about is coming from EB at the KY game. I feel that he is going to annouce at that time he plans to be back for his SR year much the same a Peyton did. What does that say about the atmosphere created by our Coaching staff? I predict that EB will return and cause all kind of havoc and take all kinds of records his SR year. He will do what is best for EB only and not what people think he should logically do! I don't think the big bucks are as important to EB. His blood does run Orange! He may also feel that he has to set the bar high for his 2 younger brothers to match when the become VOLS in a few years. Yes Vol fans, there are better days ahead.
Ask yourself this, at the start of this season, we were honestly hoping to make it to a bowl game - ANY BOWL GAME. It would be a very much improvement over the taste we have in our mouths from last year. We are on the way up. Go Big Orange!!! BEAT KENTUCKY for 25 straight.

givehim6 writes:

in response to ncvol17:

wish the Titans could get him this draft. Probably go to some hell hole of the NFL like KC, Seattle, or Oakland...the $$$ will help his family.. his father gave his all for UT and so has Eric..a great kid...

I would love to see Berry become a Titan. The Titans just do not look as sharp on D seens Haysworth left.

UneducatedRedneck writes:

Perhaps Berry had a heart-to-heart talk with Peyton Manning about staying one more year. Perhaps he sees the potential for a championship season next year. Perhaps he just wants to get his degree. Or---and this is certainly possible---perhaps he's announcing that he's entering the draft. I reckon we'll find out Saturday.

mahabrando writes:

Either way it is win win for Berry.

I honestly think if he stuck around and sealed the deal on some records the draft would just be that much better for him.

He didn't run out and through the T by himself... he didn't participate in this... maybe he has chatted with his Dad, Peyton and Coach Kiffin and is going to stay another year... or maybe he is moving on. Either way, it is win win for Eric and we all wish him the best.

Honestly... it has been a heck of a pleasure watching this SS throughout the last few years!

GO VOLS! Beat Kentucky, get a road win, and a news years day bowl game!

hcjournals#206623 writes:

Bring back the beer barrel...Since when have we been politically correct? Moonshine stills ring a bell?

kabulvol writes:

It seems like things might be lining up for EB to stay for his senior years. He didn't run through the "T". He didn't participate in the last tackle. Granted that's usually for seniors. But, is their a precedent for a junior to do those things? I don't know.

Then there is the "surprise" story that ESPN keeps running on its website. Who knows? I would like for him to come back. But, can you imagine if he came back and was seriously injured? Hopefully, if he does come back, he can get some insurance against an injury.

CoverOrange writes:

in response to dthenc:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

No, that is the Head headset cord coordinator for Lane. Found out we needed one after going to Tuscaloosa.

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