Door not completely closed on Bryce Brown’s return

Coach Dooley: Post-practice comments - March 25, 2010

There was a conspicuous guest at Tennessee’s practice Thursday.

There on the sideline, wearing a Tennessee sweatshirt, was Bryce Brown watching practice alone.

It was the first public sighting of the talented tailback at a team function this spring. UT’s leading returning rusher pulled himself from spring practice before it began last Thursday. The sophomore is thought to be evaluating his options and considering transferring.

Onlookers began to wonder if the appearance signaled a possible return for Brown, who left the Neyland-Thompson Sports Complex as the Vols were holding their post-practice meeting.

Brown declined comment. That left new coach Derek Dooley to field the media’s questions.

“I never saw Bryce,” Dooley said. “I was out there coaching the guys out there. I didn’t even know he was here.”

Dooley said he hasn’t had any recent discussions with Brown but seemed open to allowing him to return to the team — for now.

“I don’t think there’s a timeframe but there’s a responsibility you have to the team,” Dooley said. “This is the team’s team.

“I have a lot of communication with our players and our seniors and if there’s ever decisions like that on people coming back or leaving, I’ll always involve them.”

One senior, receiver Gerald Jones, supported Brown’s return.

“I think everybody deserves a second chance,” Jones said. “Sometimes it gets hard. (Former UT coach Lane) Kiffin was his guy. He came out here because of Kiffin. He’s all the way from Kansas. For Kiffin to leave and him being away from his parents, it’s hard.

“But if he wanted to come back, I think this team would welcome him back with open arms.”

Jones said UT’s players aren’t talking about Brown. And Dooley made it clear that he’s not raring to do so either.

“I told the team, ‘We’re planting grass. We’re not pulling weeds,’ ” Dooley said. “We’re building for the future. We’re putting seeds down. We’re going to have a great field soon. I’m not going to concern myself with pulling weeds because then nothing happens. There’s no growth.”

That, however, doesn’t mean Brown is shunned.

“I’m not going to deny Bryce access to our academic support, any personal growth he needs as a person,” Dooley said. “It’s just not how I am. He’s not on our team so he doesn’t get any football growth. (But) he’s still a man. He’s a human being.”

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Comments » 65

american_pitvol_terrier writes:

Crank UP the F'n DOOLEY. He ain't playin

TNVOLFN writes:

You are either part of the problem or part of the solution. If a young man decides to go in another direction, then I wish him the best of luck, but this team needs to focus and not be bothered by such distractions.

Give_It_My_ALL writes:

Gerald has been there through the thick and thin, i agree Gerald, if it wasnt for Kiffin he wouldnt be there. So what he wasnt enlightened by Dooley from the get go, it takes time to transition and communication is the main priority.... Reel this fish back in Dooley....

~~~ Give It My ALL

BigBadVol writes:

Bryce appears to be a confused young man right now. It is up to him to decide what he wants to do. Coach Dooley stays focused on the players that want to be here, who can blame him. I hope Bryce returns but he needs to let go of the Kiffin bs.

charles57#1378642 writes:

Let the dude go somewhere else. We don't need people like him!

Give_It_My_ALL writes:

in response to Navalorange:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Agreed. I liked the way GJ said hes not looking for a friendship, hes just looking for a coach to coach the hell out of him. And thats what GJ has needed his whole career is a level head, and what a time to prove hes grown up then to speak and be open about team controversy...

~~~ Give It My ALL

rootin4volz writes:

It probably doesn't help that Bryce has that wacko "handler" (whatever the eff his name is) bending his ear all the time.

smokeybitesback writes:

Brown is pulling the same phooey he did on signing day,and even if that's really not what he's doing he needs to be a man and put up or shut up.our VOLS have so much they are going through and trying to get straight,they don't need anymore distractions..Once a VOL ALWAYS a VOL!!!!!!!

rockytopatl writes:

in response to charles57#1378642:

Let the dude go somewhere else. We don't need people like him!

Who are "people like him?" What do you mean by that? Do you know him?

Lay off the hate, man. We're talking about a 19 year old kid 1,000 miles from home.

TotalPackage1 writes:

in response to rockytopatl:

Who are "people like him?" What do you mean by that? Do you know him?

Lay off the hate, man. We're talking about a 19 year old kid 1,000 miles from home.

Amen. Also, was just thinkin...was "charles57#1378641" already taken?

tnaseevol writes:

trying to read posts and watch X-kS good game 2 ot

hcjournals#206623 writes:

Bryce.........Chill...........Regroup........Be strong....Because you are strong. Soph year is the best for the real players. Sitting out has too many chances to screw things up. You might never get it back....Run some laps this weekend, start eating right and sleeping tight and get back out there. You will be glad you did in October.......Jamonit...................

DannyVol writes:

in response to rockytopatl:

Who are "people like him?" What do you mean by that? Do you know him?

Lay off the hate, man. We're talking about a 19 year old kid 1,000 miles from home.

Total overreaction, rockytopatl. I agree with the "people like him" statement...as in people who are not freaking practicing because they miss Kiffin, who is public enemy number one for UT fans. Get a clue before you start reading hate into everything.

chrisw2967 writes:

in response to TotalPackage1:

Amen. Also, was just thinkin...was "charles57#1378641" already taken?

no he was actually trying to count to 10 just couldnt figure out what order the numbers went in.

UTVOLSRROCKN writes:

Brice is confused. I think he must really want to play for UT or he wouldn't be showing up to a practice that he does not participate. Looks like he is still interested on that reason alone.

On the other hand, he could be scouting for the Liar, which I really hope is NOT true. I think he just has got the Clash song(maybe it wasn't the Clash, when you are 88yrs old your memory fades)....the song that is stuck in his head. I do remember that. "Shall I stay or shall I go?"

All we ask that you stop playing "Head Games"*(another song reference for those not familiar) and make a decision and be done with it. Please do it quickly as we have many other problems to deal with along your problem. Stop the drama and decide, do you want to play for the Vols, then get out their in practice and get it your all. If not, I wish you well along your path of decision making tribulations. This will not be the only important decision that you will have to make...life is full of them. Best to you Brice..as long as you don't end up @ USC. Peace out bro!

VolAlum2003 (Inactive) writes:

in response to UTVOLSRROCKN:

Brice is confused. I think he must really want to play for UT or he wouldn't be showing up to a practice that he does not participate. Looks like he is still interested on that reason alone.

On the other hand, he could be scouting for the Liar, which I really hope is NOT true. I think he just has got the Clash song(maybe it wasn't the Clash, when you are 88yrs old your memory fades)....the song that is stuck in his head. I do remember that. "Shall I stay or shall I go?"

All we ask that you stop playing "Head Games"*(another song reference for those not familiar) and make a decision and be done with it. Please do it quickly as we have many other problems to deal with along your problem. Stop the drama and decide, do you want to play for the Vols, then get out their in practice and get it your all. If not, I wish you well along your path of decision making tribulations. This will not be the only important decision that you will have to make...life is full of them. Best to you Brice..as long as you don't end up @ USC. Peace out bro!

Yes, it was the Clash singing "Should I Stay or Should I Go." And if you really are an 88 year old woman...then I am genuinely impressed that you can reference Clash songs and use the phrase "Peace out bro!"

VolAlum2003 (Inactive) writes:

Dooley, c'mon man. Gardening 101: You gotta pull weeds. They don't die on their own and they can choke the life out of a program. Plus, you've already shown that you can pull weeds with the best of 'em. Brandon Warren was a pretty big weed.

CroKev writes:

in response to Biggunzz44:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Did you vote for Obama? ;-)

unclesmoke writes:

I think Dorathy is along way from Kansas.Go vols!!!!!

mpm80#1357758 writes:

in response to CroKev:

Did you vote for Obama? ;-)

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

1volk-nowi-tall writes:

Get back to the Fulmer era? Two 5 and 7 seasons in a three year span. Who wants that? These kids have an excuse for the mistakes they make. Its called growing up. You should know that if you have had children of your own or if you could honestly reflect on your own teen and early-twenty years. Grow up contributors. Most of you only make contributions to the program through your venting on this site anyway. What in the world does this site have to do with who someone voted for? Instant gratification is a very childish trait. Mature people will allow others a change to make mistakes and learn from them.

mpm80#1357758 writes:

i cant believe anyone in their right mind would want fulmer back i mean the 90% of ut fans wanted him gone 3 years ago and look where we would be now if he was gone earlier ? a year or two ahead of were we are now maybe ? anyway i wonder now if fulmer is a democrat after reading these post

pdhuff#552644 writes:

Best of luck to Bryce Brown, whatever he decides to do.

Good chance the names Poole and Williams will be heard this fall.

A lot.

greyrdr#636541 writes:

Come on back Bryce. We want you on that wall, we need you on that wall.

lomas98 writes:

Since he is not part of the team currently, did he have to get permission to attend practice? I thought everyone had to get clearance to attend.

Carlitovol writes:

I heard Jimmy Hyams on the radio a few days ago say he heard from a source "very close to the situation" that there's about a 50/50 chance that Bryce will stay @ UT. This source told him that Bryce doesn't really want to transfer and has liked his experience so far with the Vols - but apparently his family (especially his dad) is pressuring him to move closer to home and play w/ his bro at K State.

If this is true, it might show that he's not just being a 'primadonna', but instead is struggling with whether or not to honor his dad's wishes.

VolsFanSince2010 writes:

All of the negative comments on this board are not helping UT keep this kid.

feathersax writes:

in response to ehawkins32#429287:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

+1 These "high school stars" have been told they are can't-miss & irreplaceable. Too many of 'em believe it. Either stick to your commitment or find another place.

GreeneVol writes:

I like that Dooley doesn't try to coddle players - personal accountability is one of life's best lessons.

Bryce, grab a hoe and start working the ground with the rest of the team.

dlobh writes:

If Bryce Brown is watching practice in a Tennessee sweatshirt, he definitely is still thinking somewhat of being a Vol. If not, why would he not go ahead and leave? He has to sit the next year out anyway if he transfers. He would easily be able to get his academics in order in that time because he was labeled as an outstanding student as well as a very talented football player.

The kid's being pulled in different directions. The fact that he was at practice is a good sign for him wearing orange and a helmet with a T in the fall.

Anyone who is still ranting about Fulmer MUST be from the Nam era, which is where Fulmer's football was from, too.

tuscavol writes:

in response to Biggunzz44:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

I would like for you to tell BB and us "selfish" Vol fans how leaving Tennessee is going to help his career; especially at this point. The same hurdles he had at TN will be waiting for him wherever he decides to go. Wont he have a new coach there too? He will also have to start from rock bottom; so wouldn't he be INCREASING the size of the mountain? Please, enlighten us.

manoffewwords writes:

Bryce is a good young man. He may become a great football player, we don't yet. He needs to stay and I think he will.

tuscavol writes:

in response to brown-bag-vol-fan:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Bryce Brown should prove he is NEEDED. There are other RBs on the roster who are dressing out right now and doing that very thing. Is he doubting the coach...... or himself? Hmmmmm

RoyaltyVol writes:

Please come back Bryce, we need you! UT is your best chance at making it big one day, so get on your gear, hit the field, and give 110% for 2 years and you'll be in the NFL making the big bucks, who knows, maybe the Chiefs will draft you and you can go back close to home!

lguy (Inactive) writes:

in response to mpm80#1357758:

i cant believe anyone in their right mind would want fulmer back i mean the 90% of ut fans wanted him gone 3 years ago and look where we would be now if he was gone earlier ? a year or two ahead of were we are now maybe ? anyway i wonder now if fulmer is a democrat after reading these post

That's got to be one of the stupidest things I've ever read.

finn writes:

I was a little concerned at first over the hoopla and the handler..etc. I thought BB might be a TO in the makings. A year later, I've got a lot of respect for the guy. He was always a team player, always very mature and respectful in interviews, and seemed to play hard every chance he got. To think that this is a result of him 'missing the spotlight' doesn't make a lot of sense. He is probably dealing with issues that are more related to family than himself and I can't fault the kid for ever putting his family's interest before his own. Bryce, I hope to see you on the team but good luck either way.

GoBigOrange0511 writes:

“I never saw Bryce,” Dooley said. “I was out there coaching the guys out there. I didn’t even know he was here.”

Am I the only one that thinks this is a load? I'm beginning to have serious mistrust issues with CDD. "Has any dismissed players requested to return", "No, I mean, oh yeah I forgot". You can't tell me Bryce was there and he had no idea. Come on CDD why are lying about stupid little things?

GreerVol22 writes:

Look, seems like Bryce still has mommy issues either/or his "agent" has been filling his ear full of Kiffin rhetoric. I like Dooley's attitude in not bending over backward and stroking Bryce to remain a Vol.

Bryce, time to man up and make a decision for yourself. This is one of those points in your life you have to be completly selfish, weigh your options, and move on.

Hopefully you want to be a Volunteer, play in "The" conference, and get some solid coaching to prep you for the future....and if the sugar Kiffin was giving you now tastes a little bitter, then make some lemonade.

RoyaltyVol writes:

Does anyone get the feeling that there are things about CDD and staff that these players don't like?

OrangePride writes:

I think I can understand, the young man is from Kansas, he got sold on Kiffin and they had a very strong relationship. BUT, once you go to war with a group of guys, once you get Saturday afternoon at Neyland in your blood, then I think those things should become your real attachment to Tennessee.......not just the coach. I think Bryce is good young man going thru a tough time. I hope he can see how this group of guys will stick with him.......if only he will stick with them. And that's worth holding on to! GO VOLS! AND GO BB!

Carlitovol writes:

in response to orangeblood5:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

True, I don't think people realize the potential that Poole has.. He is going to be a STUD.

I think Bryce has a lot of upside, but I just don't think he will be a top-tier SEC every-down RB.

IMO, a possible scenario may be that Chaney has always liked Poole better, but Kiff went with Bryce b/c he was his prize recruit. Now that Kiff is out, all bets are off and Poole will have the upper hand.

You have to wonder if Bryce sees the writing on the wall. Or who knows - maybe Chaney would prefer to use Bryce at FB due to the fact that Austin Johnson has moved to LB, but Bryce doesn't want to play that role?

All speculation, but who knows.. GBO!

tnsportsman writes:

in response to Carlitovol:

I heard Jimmy Hyams on the radio a few days ago say he heard from a source "very close to the situation" that there's about a 50/50 chance that Bryce will stay @ UT. This source told him that Bryce doesn't really want to transfer and has liked his experience so far with the Vols - but apparently his family (especially his dad) is pressuring him to move closer to home and play w/ his bro at K State.

If this is true, it might show that he's not just being a 'primadonna', but instead is struggling with whether or not to honor his dad's wishes.

I couldn't agree more with your post! Several outlets and sources are reporting the same thing about his father. Let this good young man work it out. Who of us would not be listening to our father at 19, even if it was bad advice?

Gerald Jones will be one of our next Football Captains for 2010! GJ has a head on his shoulders, is a warrior and leader! GREAT to hear the team would welcome BB back, I bet all the players are helping BB and selling staying at UT to him.

I hope our players never come on here and read what a few people say about them! PLAYERS if you ever do read some of this phooey, know that a LARGE MAJORITY OF THE VOLNATION loves, respects and cares for each and everyone of you guys! And Thank You for being a Volunteer!

GO VOLS!

UTByrd writes:

in response to steviejanowski:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

DD has previously stated that he and BB had talked several times about his situation. Just thought I'd set the record straight.
It is far to easy for people to jump to conclusions when they are not directly involved. Personally, I believe BB is a good young man and is obviously going through a tough emotional time. I wish him the best of luck in whatever decision he makes. I would love to see him stick with UT and help raise a good crop of success for the program and university.
Go VOLS!!!!!and kick some buckazz!

VolunteerLifer writes:

Kiffin lied to him, just like he lied to us. He promised Bryce that he would be here to build a national championship team, just like he promised us. He said he would be here a long time. I'm sure its hard for a Bryce Brown to get over the fact that Kiffin left him here.

He's at Tennessee now. He would either have to sit out a year or lose a year of eligibility if he leaves. Only he can determine whether that is worth it to him or not.

tgiles1944#654264 writes:

Bryce Brown is a good football player and person - I believe he can help the team in many ways - I hope that he stays and handles his personal problems

orangeman1 writes:

in response to GreerVol22:

Look, seems like Bryce still has mommy issues either/or his "agent" has been filling his ear full of Kiffin rhetoric. I like Dooley's attitude in not bending over backward and stroking Bryce to remain a Vol.

Bryce, time to man up and make a decision for yourself. This is one of those points in your life you have to be completly selfish, weigh your options, and move on.

Hopefully you want to be a Volunteer, play in "The" conference, and get some solid coaching to prep you for the future....and if the sugar Kiffin was giving you now tastes a little bitter, then make some lemonade.

I dont pretend to know why BB is considering leaving. From what I hear, its to move back closer to his family which I think is bull. I mean, he didnt have a problem with that until now? There is something more. ITs not like UT wont be getting National exposure. I am pretty sure it has something to do with the new coach. And in my opinion, Dooley is bending over backwards by saying there is no time line and it is open for him to come back. Also laying the decision on the other players? This has to be a distraction and also sets a bad precedent to other players that might be having second thoughts. If he wasnt a top recruit would he still be allowed to not practice while he makes up his mind? This just sounds ridiculous to me. Dooley shold tell him he has till Monday to make up his mind so the TEAM wont be left in limbo. Also, I dont believe Dooley didnt even know BB was at practice. Wasnt it just last week they were escorting former players out that werent approved? They know exactly who is at practice. This just doesnt look good to me. I agree BB needs to do whats best for him, but sitting out of practice isnt whats best. What am I missing here. HE QUIT THE TEAM ALREADY>

byrd4vols writes:

This guy has had plenty of time to decide if he wants to play ball at UT. Pack your bags and move on dude!!!!!!!!!!!!!

VOLINTN64 writes:

Bryce Brown needs to realize that if he wants to be an NFL running back that his best option for showcasing his talent is Neyland Stadium and the Big Orange.If he truly believes in himself he can get as much exposure here as anywhere in the country.He will show maturity and a team player attitude that will follow him the rest of his life.He is not doing himself any favors by acting wishy washy and not adapting to change.Adversity and change are constant in life as well as sports and as a young man it would behoove him to accept the changes and stay the course.I would advise him the same way if he was at any other top tier program.His family is really messing up a great opportunity for him to become a high draft choice in the NFL.The VOLS will succeed with or without him but he will be better off succeeding with us rather than without us.We will be receiving as much or more media coverage in the next few years because of our situation and he could benefit greatly if he is as talented as everyone thinks he is.It takes heart as well as talent and you need both to be great.Show the country your not a quitter and put your heart into this program and show Lane Kiffin what a fool he was for leaving you at the alter.You cant change the past but only you can control your future.I wish you the best in the future and hope its wearing orange.GBO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

RoyaltyVol writes:

in response to steviejanowski:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Yea I think Kiffin inflated a lot of hot air into these players.

nfdeng13 writes:

Brown is overrated, overhyped, and under talented. Hit the road... GBO

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