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Tennessee football legends speak up for Tee Martin amid Josh Heupel hire – All for Tennessee

It’s no secret that Vol Nation had a mixed reaction to Tennessee football hiring UCF Knights head coach Josh Heupel to lead its program. Given the fact that new athletic director Danny White also came from UCF people were also a little suspicious.

However, while most of those upset thought that the Vols could have brought in a bigger name, a couple of legends took the time to tout one of the assistants still on staff. Wide receivers coach and passing game coordinator Tee Martin came up in more ways than one.

Peerless Price, the greatest playmaking wide receiver in Tennessee football history and Martin’s go-to guy on the 1998 national championship team, said Martin is beyond hurt. Why that is the case remains to be seen. Price made the statement on Twitter.

What was more revealing than that tweet, though, was one of Price’s responses to another tweet. He proceeded to debate with much of Vol Twitter, but in one of his responses, he implied this wasn’t about Martin receiving the head coaching job.

If that tweet is true, then what does this all mean? Does it mean that Heupel is about to fire Martin? If so, that contradicts a report from less than a week ago by Jimmy Hyams on Twitter that Martin had received an offer to stay.

Of course, Heupel could want his own guys. There’s a chance Kevin Steele, who was hired specifically to guide the program through this transition and nothing else, doesn’t stay on the staff either, although given Heupel’s teams’ defensive issues, it wouldn’t be a bad idea to keep him.

Anyway, if Martin is hurt and there is an implication that it’s not about him becoming head coach, then either Heupel is parting ways with him or he’s not getting any promotion he may have expected. Is there a chance Martin thought he would be named offensive coordinator? We have no way of knowing.

Another former Tennessee football player, however, was more direct. Albert Haynesworth, an NFL Pro Bowl defensive tackle who played with the Vols from 1999 to 2001, directly accused the Vols of racism for not naming Martin head coach on his Facebook page. Haynesworth called for a boycott of the program from all African American UT alums. Here’s a bit of what he said.

“I bring race into it bc UT has passed over good qualified black coaches like Kippy Brown and others in these past coaching searches. Majority of your players are African-American why not put a African-American coach to lead them especially the one that won Tennessee a championship? You guys give everyone except a black qualified man a chance! With this said I will not be attending any games or supporting until I see change in the university that I love so much!”

Obviously, Haynesworth is making a serious accusation there, but it’s clear that people who played with Martin during that time all loved and respected him. Maybe it just was in the heat of the moment, but maybe it had something to do with other potential African American candidates not getting the hire this time around either.

Of the two, though, Price seems like a more credible source about what Martin wants specifically. The two were teammates for a longer period of time, and as we said, Price was Martin’s top target in 1998. It’s safe to say they probably have a connection that few college teammates have.

Regardless, though, this is tough for Vol Nation to see. Everybody wants to see Tennessee football united heading into the future, and that just doesn’t seem to be the case at the moment. However, if Heupel has success, that can change quickly.

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