ATHENS – Tim Kimbrough had just bench pressed 225 pounds 18 times, which was pretty good, but he wanted to do more. It was just before Wednesday’s pro day at UGA, and he wanted to impress the scouts.
So he tried, and that’s when he tore a pectoral muscle.
“It just popped,” he said.
It was the latest pitfall for the former Georgia inside linebacker, who had graciously made up with his former team in order to participate in UGA’s pro day. Then he got hurt.
“I’m very bummed,” Kimbrough said Wednesday. “Because I had a great opportunity to come here and participate, and I didn’t get to participate.”
Last August, 10 days into Georgia’s preseason camp, Kimbrough left the team in a dispute apparently over playing time. He started seven games as a sophomore, and was set to be the team’s leading returning tackler in 2016. But then-sophomores Roquan Smith and Natrez Patrick were getting the first-team work, not Kimbrough.
So Kimbrough left in a huff, intending to transfer to another school. But that never happened. Kimbrough said he tried to go the Division II route, but they wanted him to redshirt and play in 2017. The closest he came was Eastern Kentucky, which was closer to home and where he had a good friend on the team.
“I felt like I was ready to play. So I didn’t want to redshirt and sit out a year,” Kimbrough said. “I was ready to go to the next level.”
So he declared for the draft. He didn’t get a part-time job or anything. He’s just been working out. He was 230 pounds when he left, and is 234 now. He recently hired an agent, Richard Katz.
But not going to another school is a decision that Kimrbough said he now regrets.
“The only good thing about me not going to a different school is I’ll probably be able to go back to school here, and get my degree from here,” Kimbrough said. “That’s the only good thing about it. But I wish I’d gone to a different school.”
The decision made, however, he had to make the best of it. He didn’t get an invite to the NFL combine, which was in his hometown of Indianapolis. But Georgia was willing to help out; Smart and inside linebackers coach Glenn Schumann both agreed to participate on pro day.
“Tim’s got an opportunity to come back here,” Smart said. “I like for guys that played here to come back. I told Brice (Ramsey) and Reggie (Wilkerson) the same thing. They’ll be able to come back here and work out. I think that’s important, if this is where you played for most of your career, I want you to come back and do a pro day here.”
Several times on Wednesday, Kimbrough called his leaving Georgia “a mutual decision,” which is what the team termed it at the time, even though Kimbrough wasn’t as magnanimous back then.
“I don’t remember what I said (last August),” Kimbrough said, smiling, and the media laughed along.
The past is the past. And now Kimbrough is all about trying to make the best of it in the pros.
What are his chances?
“I had great film, so hopefully that helps me a lot,” Kimbrough said. “That’s all I can hope for.”