Tennessee athletic director John Currie reportedly spoke with fifth-year senior offensive lineman Brett Kendrick’s mother, Beth Kendrick, about her son reportedly playing during the final two quarters of Saturday’s loss to Kentucky after suffering a concussion, according to SEC Country.
On Tuesday, The Read Optional broke a story that claimed the lineman played through the game’s two quarters with a concussion and was benched in the final minute after vomiting on the sideline. Currie responded to the report with an official statement denying the team had any knowledge that Kendrick was concussed during the time of the incident.
“The health and safety of our student-athletes is our number one responsibility. Our sports medicine staff and team medical personnel have full autonomy and unquestioned authority during all team activities, including the ability to remove a player from competition and ‘return to play’ decisions. At all football games, the Southeastern Conference has a trained independent medical observer present who also has full authority to stop play and remove a student-athlete from competition for assessment and/or treatment.
“We have a constant and consistently communicated expectation that all coaches, staff and student-athletes remain attentive to ensure that any potential injuries are appropriately addressed—with full intentions that student-athlete safety is never compromised.”
During Wednesday’s press conference, head coach Butch Jones denied knowingly playing Kendrick despite a concussion.
SEC Country also reported that Kendrick refused to come out of the game, according to a source.
Tennessee’s offensive line has lacked depth throughout the season. Chance Hall, who was projected to start at right tackle, has been inactive since the preseason due to a knee injury. Former starting guard Jack Jones announced his retirement last week due to neck/shoulder injuries. Backup guard Venzell Boulware left the Vols several weeks ago after being benched during the Georgia game and former starting tackle Marcus Tatum missed Saturday’s game due to an undisclosed injury.
Tennessee will host Southern Miss during its homecoming game on Saturday at 7:30 p.m. at Neyland Stadium.