Tennessee running back John Kelly may have thrown some shade at former coach Butch Jones when discussing his potential replacement.
Kelly said he expects “honesty” from whoever becomes the Vols’ next coach when asked what specific characteristic he was looking for.
Take it as you will, but it’s unlikely that Kelly would emphasize “honesty” being an important trait for the next coach if it was one possessed by his predecessor.
Several former players have criticized Jones both during and after his tenure at Tennessee, including Albert Haynesworth and Jayson Swain, who referred to Jones as “probably one of the worst human beings I’ve encountered” in a since deleted Tweet.
However, there have been few — if any — of Jones’ own players who have spoken out against the coach since his termination. Kelly’s comment will obviously gain attention for that, but also teases a possible return for his senior season.
Many assumed the running back would declare for the 2018 NFL Draft after a breakout junior campaign. Kelly leads the Vols with 711 yards and eight touchdowns on 154 attempts.
If Tennessee does make the right hire, perhaps that will sway the star tailback into spending another year on Rocky Top.