UK Football

Kentucky, offensive lineman have ‘mutual separation’ before Music City Bowl

Senior offensive lineman Nick Haynes is no longer practicing with Kentucky as the Cats prepare for the Music City Bowl in three weeks, Coach Mark Stoops confirmed on Saturday.

“Nick was done with the last game,” Stoops said of the senior, who was a team captain for 11 games this season.

“With his health, just a mutual separation, he was good to try and get healthy, gain some weight, hopefully try to prepare to make an NFL run. He was anxious to get his health back in good shape.”

Several members of the media requested to speak to the senior, who sent out a tweet blasting the Cats coaches the night before his Senior Day and hasn’t spoken since then, but were told that Haynes wasn’t available on Friday.

Since the Missouri game on Oct. 7, the offensive guard has played sparingly, mostly on special teams. Haynes started in six games early this season and 25 games before that.

The Niceville, Fla., native had battled maintaining his weight the last two seasons since being diagnosed with diabetes.

Haynes was on the front of the media guide this season and has been a team captain for every game this season with the exception of the last one, which was less than 24 hours after he sent a controversial tweet.

In that tweet sent at 10:51 the night before the Louisville game, Haynes said: “Most of these coaches don’t care about us personally. It’s all about that check. That’s the one big thing I’ve discovered here at UK. They’ll use you up for all your worth and then throw you to the side.”

Haynes took the tweet down shortly afterward.

After the Louisville loss, Stoops said he went to speak with the senior after the message was posted on social media.

“He and I talked about it and put it to bed last night,” Stoops said the next day. “He was emotional as well. He was rubbed the wrong way after curfew by one of our younger coaches, and we'll just leave it at that.”

The entire incident was disappointing altogether because a team discussion earlier that night was “one of the best team meetings I had been a part of,” Stoops said.

“We've got a really good group of seniors, and we had a really good, emotional meeting. There were a lot of good vibes in that room.”

In interviews before UK’s Senior Day, the Kentucky graduate said he had plans to work with outside nutritionists and doctors to figure out how to put the necessary weight back on and go through NFL Pro Day on campus in the spring.

“I’m going to try and find more detailed nutritionists and more detailed things I can do personally and things that can help me out,” he said in late November. “It might be something that might be out of reach here.

“But once I’m able to go out on my own and be able to see different things and hear from different people, I think I can find a plan that works for me. That’s all I can hope for.”

On that day, Haynes said his goal is to become an NFL center.

“That’s on my mind forefront, to gain weight back so I can do that and then go pursue that goal,” Haynes said. “That’s not something that’s out of my reach and that’s something I want to do. I’m going to try my hardest to do that.”

It was a difficult season for Haynes, especially coming off a strong junior year where he was playing some of his best football.

“I was playing really well, but my weight didn’t want to act right,” he said, adding after: “I’ll be back, don’t worry.”