- Chris Low, ESPN Senior Staff Writer
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New Tennessee coach Butch Jones made his best pitch to bring one of the Vols' most famous players back home, but Tee Martin decided Tuesday to stay put at USC.
Martin, who quarterbacked Tennessee to the 1998 national championship, turned down an offer to return to his alma mater and coach wide receivers. He flew to Knoxville on Monday to meet with Jones, but decided he wouldn't pull a "Lane Kiffin" and bolt after one year despite a deal that would have paid him as much as $400,000 per year. Of course, the irony there is that Kiffin is Martin's boss at USC and spent 14 tumultuous months as Tennessee's head coach in 2009.
Just recently, Tennessee had two years added to its NCAA probation stemming from violations that occurred on Kiffin's watch. And, now, he's able to keep Martin on the West Coast.
Something says Kiffin will receive even fewer Christmas cards from Tennessee fans this year.
As for Martin, he told Volquest.com that USC had a bright future and the timing simply wasn't right for him to leave.
"It was great to get an offer and have the chance to return to my alma mater," said Martin, whose flirtation with Tennessee is expected to get him a raise at USC. "I wanted to see what the feeling would feel like and look in coach Jones' eyes and see what he had planned for Tennessee. That's why I came across the country. In the end, I just couldn't leave my situation at USC."
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