Tennessee coach sends player to locker room for refusing to enter game

Tennessee Volunteers linebacker Quart’e Sapp (14) looks across the line of scrimmage during game between the West Virginia Mountaineers and the Tennessee Volunteers on September 1.

 (Photo by Jay Anderson/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

A Tennessee football player didn’t quit the team during Saturday’s embarrassing loss to Florida, but he was asked to leave the sideline after refusing to enter the game.

Volunteers Coach Jeremy Pruitt said he took action after linebacker Quart’e Sapp said he wasn’t going to play, the Knoxville News Sentinel reports.

"He wouldn’t go into the game when he was asked to go in," Pruitt said, according to the paper. "I don’t know how things were done before, but when you tell somebody to go in and they refuse to go in, we’re not going to do that around here. I asked him to leave. He didn’t leave on his own. I asked him to leave.”

Pruitt was asked about the 21-year-old Sapp after rumors circulated during the game that Sapp had quit the team, according to the Saturday Down South website.

Tennessee lost to the Gators by a crushing 47-21 score.

Pruitt hedged when asked about the junior’s future with the team.

“Well, I don’t think right now is the time to discuss that. But to me, there’s no secrets,” he said. “It is what it is.”

The coach said Sapp has never been a problem at Tennessee.

“Since I’ve been here, Quart’e has been a very good ambassador for the game, done everything we’ve asked him to do,” Pruitt said.

Sapp vied to be a starting linebacker in the spring, but got beat out by two teammates, according to the News Sentinel. He is a top reserve. He made no public comment about the incident Saturday.

Buffalo Bills cornerback Vontae Davis, 30, generated national headlines when he retired at halftime during last Sunday’s game against the Los Angeles Chargers.

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