Tennessee linebacker to remain with team after leaving sideline in blowout loss to Florida

In the middle of Tennessee's 47-21 home loss to rival Florida Saturday night in Neyland Stadium, one of the more bizarre incidents in the young season took place. Junior linebacker Quart'e Sapp left the sideline and went to the locker room in the middle of the blowout and did not return.

Coach Jeremy Pruitt said Monday that Sapp will remain with the program despite leaving the field during the game.

"Quart'e's been a great ambassador," he said during his Monday press conference. "He'd come and saw me yesterday. Like I told y'all after the game, once me and him sat down and talked, it would be between us and we'll keep it in house. I will say this and I said it the other night and said it to our players, since I've been here he has been a really good ambassador to our football program, to our team and has been a good leader on our team. One mistake, everybody makes mistakes, so we're going to move on and we'll go from there."

Pruitt told reporters after the game that Sapp refused to go on the field in the middle of the blowout loss to the Gators, and the Tennessee coach then told him to get off the sideline.

"He left the field during the game because he would not go into the game when he was asked to," Pruitt said in the postgame press conference. "I do not know how things were done before, but when you tell somebody to go in and they refuse to go in… we are not going to do that around here. He did not leave on his own, I asked him to leave."

After the game and press conference, Sapp posted this message on Twitter in which he says he was not asked to leave the sideline, but did have a "confrontation."

Pruitt on Monday compared Sapp's situation to others that he has experienced during his coaching career.

"Here's the thing guys, I've coached at a lot of places, and I've seen things like this happen before. I've seen guys not show up to practice on Tuesday, not show up to practice on Wednesday, and when you're dealing with 18-to-22-year-olds, there are lots of things going on. Things happen, but again, Quart'e has been nothing but a great ambassador for our program. He's a really good student, and he's a really good leader for our team."

The news brings to conclusion to a bizarre two days in the relationship between Pruitt and Sapp. Football is an emotional sport, and sometimes it's hard to contain those emotions. Cooler heads have apparently prevailed after a wild and disappointing night in Knoxville.

College Football Writer

Barrett Sallee has been a member of the sports media in various aspects since 2001. He is currently a college football writer for CBS Sports, analyst for CBS Sports HQ and host for the SiriusXM college... Full Bio

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