Former Tennessee quarterback Jonathan Crompton told the Chattanooga Times Free Press on Thursday that he has some bad memories from his time with the team – and not because of how it performed on the field.
“I’ve only been back to Tennessee twice for games since I left,” Crompton said. “‘Animosity’ is probably the best word for how I felt for a long time. I know it wasn’t the majority of the fans, but there were enough examples that it really left a bad taste in my mouth. And I don’t want to have that bad taste toward my alma mater anymore. I really don’t.
“I could take it if they would just say things to me, but because they would yell things at my family, I developed a genuine dislike for that place. I’m not sure how to fix that, but there are so many people still there that I love and respect and would love to see.
“I still believe Tennessee has the number-one fan base in the country. It’s just hard to forget some of the things that happened to me and my family while I was there.”
Crompton said that, at least at one point, his family had to be protected from physical assault around or inside the stadium from fans who threatened both he and his family. In one instance, a stranger told his mother that he hoped Crompton and his family would die in a car crash.
Crompton said the majority of the incidents occurred as a junior during the 2008 season, when Tennessee went 5-7 in Phillip Fulmer’s last year as coach.
In 2009, during Lane Kiffin’s lone season as Vols coach, Crompton threw for 2,800 yards and 27 touchdowns and Tennessee improved to 7-6.
“I know there are a lot of Tennessee fans who don’t like him because he left, but Coach Kiffin was one of the best coaches I ever played for at any level,” Crompton said. “I would’ve run through a wall for him. He did a lot to help me develop as a quarterback.”
Crompton was drafted in the fifth round of the 2010 NFL draft and had stints with the San Diego Chargers, New England Patriots, Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Washington Redskins. He played for the Edmonton Eskimos from 2013-14 and the Montreal Alouettes from 2014-16 in the CFL before retiring.
Crompton said he still has an itch for football, though, and that he would like to get into coaching at the high school level.
(You can follow Kevin Connell on Twitter @_KevinConnell)
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