Curtis Pulley Kicked Off UK Football Team

LEXINGTON, Ky. (AP) - Curtis Pulley's off-field problems never
allowed him to live up to his on-field promise.
The talented but troubled Kentucky quarterback was dismissed from the team Tuesday by coach Rich Brooks for a violation of team
rules, a move that hands the starting quarterback job Pulley was vying for to sophomore Mike Hartline.
"I'm in the business of taking a young man and building him into a responsible young man, and obviously I feel like I've failed in this situation," Brooks said. "Sometimes for the better good of the whole, some parts have to be sacrificed."
The dismissal follows a turbulent offseason for Pulley that included a pair of run-ins with police. Pulley was arrested on traffic charges in Hardin County on July 22 and pleaded guilty to speeding in district court last week. He received a citation for marijuana possession in Louisville in June.
Brooks said last week Pulley would miss playing time because of
his legal troubles but still had a chance to win the starting job. The coach reconsidered after getting more details on Pulley's situation.
"There is basically a little more as I delved into it than I was aware of at the time," Brooks said.
The decision came as a "shock" to Hartline, who will likely be the starter when the Wildcats open the season at Louisville on Aug. 31.
"I knew he was going to get in some playing time troubles," Hartline said. "But in the end it's all about what you have and how you plan to move on. Since he's not on our team anymore, it's tragic and everybody wants him on our team, but we can't really dwell on it."
Brooks said he's not concerned about Hartline's ability to lead the Wildcats, though he would have preferred to give the job to Hartline based on merit, not necessity.
"I had hoped this wouldn't be the way that the starting quarterback would be named," Brooks said. "I would have rather have done it on the field and without controversy."
Controversy, however, seemed to dog Pulley nearly from the moment he stepped on campus.
Named Kentucky's "Mr. Football" following his senior season at
Hopkinsville (Ky.) in 2004, Pulley's combination of speed and athleticism caught the eye of offensive coordinator Joker Phillips.
"When you recruit a kid, you get all these expectations of Curtis being a great player, and he is a great player, we just never saw it at Kentucky," Phillips said.
Pulley played sporadically at wide receiver and quarterback in 2005 and 2006, but left school briefly after losing a quarterback battle with Andre Woodson. He returned last fall and starred on the offensive scout team and appeared to have turned a corner during the spring, showing flashes of brilliance at times during the team's annual Blue-White game. Pulley passed for 134 yards and ran for another 82.
Brooks said afterward he was in no hurry to name a starter, though Phillips hinted during the summer that Hartline had gained an edge during offseason workouts by displaying the kind of leadership qualities Phillips is looking for in a quarterback.
"(Curtis) had improved, it wasn't as bad as it was the year he lost his job to Andre," Phillips said. "We just thought that Mike was the guy that was leading the guys the right way. Curtis was better, but Mike was ahead of him in the area as far as leading."
Pulley has two years of eligibility remaining, and Brooks said he anticipates Pulley transferring to a Football Championship Subdivision school.
Brooks said he wasn't trying to send a message by dismissing Pulley but felt it may have shown his players that they will be held accountable for their actions both on and off the field.
"I'd like to think we try to keep a fairly high standard here," Brooks said. "I want to continue that, but it still breaks my heart any time something like that happens."

(Copyright 2008 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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  • by James Location: LEX on Aug 8, 2008 at 07:57 AM
    This will haunt him for the rest of his life.... stupid kid!
  • by Jenn Location: Somewhere on Aug 8, 2008 at 05:32 AM
    Nice fumble there Mr. Football! Way to go Coach Brooks! I'm finally glad to see people, no matter their fame or status, being held accountable.
  • by Anonymous on Aug 7, 2008 at 06:11 PM
    You little people think you won one.
  • by Billy Location: lancaster,ky on Aug 6, 2008 at 05:42 PM
    When Coach Brooks first came to Kentucky, I did not think he was the man for the job. The past two years have proven me wrong. I don't think things can be handled any better. Thanks coach for the great job you are doing.
  • by Barbara Location: lawrenceburg on Aug 6, 2008 at 10:05 AM
  • by newswatcher Location: lexignton on Aug 6, 2008 at 08:00 AM
    Good for you, Coach Brooks, you absolutely did the right thing! And hooray for Pulley, Sr., too...sounds like he actually agrees with the coach! How refreshing to see a parent who isn't trying to blame someone else for the consequences of their child's mistakes. Too bad there aren't more people like these two men in the world of collegiate sports.
  • by Keith Location: Lexington on Aug 5, 2008 at 05:34 PM
    Ray, thugs break the law and get arrested. He has been arrest twice and doesn't follow team rules.
  • by Steve Location: Lexington on Aug 5, 2008 at 03:13 PM
    Good decision, shows Coach Brooks integrity and that he's as good of a coach as he is a person. It might cost us come gametime, but Hartline is the only way to go because the other 2 can't keep out of trouble.
  • by Larry Location: Lexington on Aug 5, 2008 at 01:52 PM
    I don't know the young man, and it is not up to me to pass judgement. However, this is just one more example of what a class act we have in Coach Brooks. I am proud of you Coach!
  • by ray Location: versailles on Aug 5, 2008 at 01:36 PM
    you people are a little harsh on the young man. just because he made a mistake and probably deserved dismissal, does not necessarily make him a thug. a little misguided maybe, but not a thug unless you are all aware oif circumstances that have not been made public. i hope the young man straightens himself out. by the same token i think coach brooks did the right thing,.
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