The Clemson Insider has confirmed Kelly Bryant was not at practice on Tuesday as the second-ranked Tigers prepare for Saturday’s home game against Syracuse.
Tuesday was the second straight day Bryant did not practice. Earlier in the day, head coach Dabo Swinney said he gave Bryant Monday off after it was an emotional day for the senior.
Swinney met with Bryant following his announcement that freshman Trevor Lawrence would start over the senior against the Orange. Bryant has started the last 18 games for Clemson and has compiled a 16-2 record as a starter.
Bryant’s absence from Tuesday’s practice could raise questions on whether the senior will transfer from the team. A source told TCI that missing Monday’s practice is not a big deal during game week, but missing Tuesday’s practice is pretty big.
The source said if he missed Wednesday’s practice, it means he is likely not playing in Saturday’s game.
Earlier on Tuesday, Swinney said during his weekly press conference that quarterbacks coach Brandon Streeter spoke to Bryant on Sunday and informed him of their decision to start Lawrence. Swinney then texted his senior and set up a Monday afternoon meeting.
Swinney said the two spoke about a lot of things and it was a very emotional meeting.
“It was emotional. It was tough because he has played well,” the Clemson coach said. “There is not a guy since I have been here that has been committed to this program more than Kelly Bryant.
“There is not a better leader. This guys is the epitome of what you want. This is who you want your son to be like. I love him, like a son. It was a very difficult conversation.”
Swinney said Bryant is very disappointed, but he does not have any doubt he will get back to work and will respond.
With the new transfer rules in place, players can now transfer after four games. Bryant, who has not redshirted, could sit out the remainder of the season and would be eligible to transfer to another school. If he were to do so, he would be eligible as a graduate transfer and could play immediately.
“We talked about a lot of things,” Swinney said. “Like I said, it was emotional. There were a lot of things we did talk about.”
Swinney said if he was worried about Bryant transferring or was a deceitful person, he could have gone out and said Bryant was going to start against Syracuse on Monday, assuring the senior could not transfer. However, that is not who he is.
“I could have huddled the coaches up and said let’s make sure we start him for Syracuse. That way he is locked,” Swinney said. “That is not how I operate. I do not operate that way. I’m just trying to do what is right and I am not ever going to apologize for that.
“We talked about a lot of things. It was a deep, long, emotional conversation and it was something that we needed to talk through.”
Swinney said if Bryant walked into his office today and said he wanted to transfer unless they needed to have him, the Clemson coach would grant him his transfer.
“If that is what he wanted to do, I would be all for it. I love Kelly,” the Clemson coach said. “I would be disappointed in that, in him leaving, but I would not judge him for that.”
When asked if Bryant conveyed wanting to transfer in the conversation, Swinney said, “No.”
“We just talked. We talked a lot about a lot of things. I don’t have any doubt that he will be right here and he will be ready to go.”