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Again: Fight injures Tennessee player

Photo: Michael Lindsay

Radio host and writer Jimmy Hyams on Friday reported that Tennessee defensive end Darrell Taylor and offensive lineman Trey Smith had been involved in an altercation at the Vols’ practice on Thursday.

Hyams reported in a separate tweet that Smith’s helmet had gotten knocked off during the drill, after which Taylor kicked him. He also said Taylor had apologized to Smith.

The series of tweets came a day after rumors began circulating on Twitter that the two players had been involved in fisticuffs.

Thursday’s fight came two weeks after defensive lineman Shy Tuttle was injured during an altercation with defensive back Nigel Warrior. Tuttle suffered an eye injury that sent him to the hospital and resulted in him missing the following Saturday’s game against Massachusetts.

Some Tennessee fans have suggested that the fights at practice indicate that embattled Vols coach Butch Jones is losing control of his team, while others insist that fights are a part of the game.

It is certainly true that football is an emotional sport, and anyone who has ever strapped on a helmet at any level can tell you that the emotions of the game combined with full-contact practices provide the natural ingredients for fights between teammates.

At the same time, separate fights within a two-week span that resulted in two different players receiving medical attention is certainly alarming, and not easily dismissed.

Hyams asked Jones about the nature of Tuttle’s injury two days after the Vols’ win over UMass, leading Jones to say that Tuttle “fell on a helmet” and was not injured by a teammate. Jones’ answer, which also included a rant against Knoxville news media for what he termed “overwhelming negativity” became the butt of many jokes, including a scathing take by ESPN’s Reece Davis on College Gameday last Saturday.

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