Clemson HC Dabo Swinney Says Kelly Bryant Won't Receive 2018-19 Title Ring

Mike Chiari@mikechiariFeatured ColumnistAugust 8, 2019

Missouri quarterback Kelly Bryant talks with teammates on the bench during an NCAA college football intra-squad spring game Saturday, April 13, 2019, in Columbia, Mo. (AP Photo/L.G. Patterson)
L.G. Patterson/Associated Press

Despite appearing in four games for the Clemson Tigers last season before leaving the program, quarterback Kelly Bryant will not receive a championship ring.

According to ESPN's Chris Low, Clemson head coach Dabo Swinney explained the reasoning Wednesday: "He wasn't on the team. You've gotta be on the team to get a ring. I love Kelly and appreciate what he did for us, but he decided to move on."

Bryant left Clemson when true freshman Trevor Lawrence took over as the starting quarterback, and the Tigers went on to win the national championship with a 44-16 victory over Alabama.

Bryant transferred to Missouri as a graduate transfer, and he is set to start in 2019.

In four games at Clemson last season, Bryant completed 66.7 percent of his passes for 461 yards, two touchdowns and one interception while rushing for 130 yards and two scores.

Although Bryant went 16-2 as a starter, led the Tigers to a College Football Playoff berth in 2017 and won a national title in 2016 as Deshaun Watson's backup, he didn't leave the school on great terms. After getting demoted, he called it a "slap in the face."

In hindsight, it's tough to argue with Swinney's decision, as Lawrence led Clemson to an undefeated record and enters 2019 as one of the top Heisman Trophy candidates.

Swinney said he hasn't spoken to Bryant since he left the program but added: "Hopefully we'll be able to visit and sit down and have a good conversation, but he's focused on what he's trying to do, and we wish him the best. He's a graduate of Clemson and always will be and was a heck of a player for us, but my job is to do what's best for the team."

Professional sports teams typically give players who are traded or released during a championship season a ring for their contributions, and while following that custom may have started the healing process between Clemson and Bryant a bit more quickly, both sides are looking ahead.

Clemson is focused on winning its third national title in four years, while Bryant is looking to replace Drew Lock at Missouri and help Mizzou win double-digit games for the first time since 2014.

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