Jan. 14, 2006
KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (AP) - Tennessee defensive tackle Tony McDaniel, sued this week for injuring a fellow student, will forgo his senior season and enter the NFL draft, coach Phillip Fulmer said.
A student McDaniel hit in the face during a pickup basketball game last year filed an $800,000 lawsuit Thursday for damages in Knox County Circuit Court.
McDaniel told Fulmer on Friday he had changed his mind about staying in school. Underclassmen have until Sunday to declare for the draft.
"He didn't give a reason," Fulmer said Saturday. "I just wished him well."
Fulmer said he understood given "everything that was going on in his life."
McDaniel said on Wednesday he wanted to remain in school to repay Fulmer and defensive line coach Dan Brooks for standing up for him after he was arrested. He said without the coaches' support he's not sure he would have been allowed back into school.
McDaniel's attorney, Don Bosch, said he couldn't comment on his client's decision.
McDaniel was charged with aggravated assault, a felony, after the incident last January. A video of the basketball court on campus showed McDaniel punching Edward Goodrich in the face and walking away as Goodrich lay on the floor for several minutes.
Goodrich testified four bones in his face were broken and doctors inserted a metal plate to repair his injuries.
McDaniel pleaded guilty to a lesser charge, misdemeanor assault, and was placed under supervised probation.
The university suspended McDaniel retroactively, which wiped out his summer school credits. Fulmer suspended McDaniel for the first two games of the season.
Part of McDaniel's plea agreement was to pay restitution to Goodrich. Bosch said Friday that his client had completed the payments, but would not disclose the amount.