ATHENS — Tim Kimbrough is already back home in Indianapolis, contemplating the next step in his college football career. It won’t be at Georgia, where he withdrew from classes earlier this week.
The decision came after some back-and-forth with Georgia’s coaching staff, and Kimbrough’s understanding was he was being told he was on the verge of being kicked off the team. That was because Kimbrough had left a practice because of an injury, though an MRI later revealed no injury.
“I just wanted to sit out, so the people in front of me could start until they needed me, until the team needed me,” Kimbrough said. “But since I left practice, coach, he was like, since I left practice I’ve got to be kicked off the team, or I had to transfer. So I just said I would transfer.”
Head coach Kirby Smart released a statement through the team on Thursday.
“Based on a mutual decision between Tim (Kimbrough) and I, he will no longer be a part of our football program,” Smart said. “We wish him the best as he continues his education and playing career.”
Smart, asked about Kimbrough’s absence after Wednesday’s practice, said the player was on a “leave of absence.” Someone with knowledge of Kimbrough’s departure maintained that Georgia coaches “tried to keep him.”
Kimbrough also thought about transferring two months ago, he said on Thursday. At the time he was given a full release to pursue other options, but opted to stay around.
Kimbrough started seven games for Georgia last year. Then he fell behind then-freshman Natrez Patrick, who started the final two games of the season, including the Taxslayer Bowl, when Kimbrough was suspended for undisclosed reasons. He returned to the team with what Smart called a “clean slate,” but he remained behind Patrick, and sophomore Roquan Smith had also appeared to nudge ahead of him.
“They weren’t going to let me get my starting spot back,” Kimbrough said. “I probably wasn’t going to play this year.”
A number of smaller schools have already reached out to Kimbrough, he said Thursday, but he’s not close to a decision.
“They’re trying to make me redshirt this year, but I want to play this year,” Kimbrough said. “I really wanted to play for Georgia. I just want to find a new home to play at this level, but if that doesn’t happen I can’t control that.”