Bret Smith rejoins Vols

Wide receiver Bret Smith is off the hook and back on the Vol football team.

Smith and former UT quarterback Brent Schaeffer, charged with misdemeanor assault in connection with an April 10 incident that left another student with three staples in his scalp, saw the charges reduced to ''offensive touching assault'' in General Sessions Court on Thursday. Their punishment: Pay court costs, pay the victim's medical expenses and spend six months on judicial diversion.

Bottom line: Schaeffer paid $1300, Smith paid $700 and both will have their criminal records cleared if they stay out of trouble for the next six months.

The two players were suspended from the football team following the incident. Schaeffer elected to transfer and is still searching for a new school. Smith has been reinstated to the UT program by head coach Phillip Fulmer, who issued the following statement late Thursday night:

''I remain very disappointed we have had any of these kinds of issues at all, but am pleased with the results in court for Bret. He will return to our active roster and the suspension is lifted, however he will continue to be disciplined internally for his immature actions and poor representation of our team.''

To recap: Schaeffer reportedly struck Quantavious Emerson in the neck at around 5 a.m. on April 10 in the Clement Hall lobby. Emerson supposedly had been arguing with Schaeffer's girlfriend. After hitting Emerson, Schaeffer allegedly threw him to the floor, producing a serious gash in his head. Smith then struck Emerson while he was still on the floor.

Smith is one of Tennessee's most talented receivers. He caught 18 passes for 291 yards and a team-high five touchdowns last fall. He also returned an onsides kickoff for a TD vs. South Carolina.

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