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Tennessee Football: Butch Jones confirms Todd Kelly Jr. will miss remainder of the season

Kelly had surgery today.

NCAA Football: Tennessee at Georgia Tech Jason Getz-USA TODAY Sports

As expected, Tennessee will be without senior safety Todd Kelly Jr. for the remainder of the season. Butch Jones confirmed that Kelly opted to undergo surgery today to repair a damaged knee.

The rumor mill had been churning on Kelly for a couple of weeks before he was ruled out against the Florida Gators. It was reported then that the issue was serious and would likely cost Kelly his entire season.

It’s not all bad news, potentially. There’s a chance that Kelly could return to the program next season, if that’s something he wants to do. He can seek a medical hardship from the NCAA, which would grant him one more shot at his senior season.

"Obviously we would welcome him back and love to have him back here,” Butch Jones said on Wednesday after practice. Kelly was the team’s leading tackler in 2016 and a key leader heading into this season.

We’ll see if he gets another chance to wear the orange and white in 2018.