Smith was hired in April of 2012 to run the team for a 10 month period following the dismissal of former head coach Bobby Petrino. He and the rest of Petrino's staff was fired by athletic director Jeff Long following a 4-8 season. Linebackers coach Taver Johnson was rehired by current head coach
"I don't think an A.D. should ever hire somebody for 10 months," Petrino told The Sporting News. "Players know what that means; they understand that. It hurts the power of the head coach and the assistants."
"They should've hired (Smith) for two years or hired someone else for two years, or just (expletive)-canned all of us."Haynes agreed, telling The Sporting News, "Even if they had a plan to get rid of us no matter what, which I think they did, you say two years and I think the kids dig in. When you give 10 months, everyone is on egg shells."
"There were some seniors who kind of hung it up, to be honest with you," Petrino continued. "They were going to worry about their futures more than that team. A couple seniors said they were hurt and I don't know if they really were."
"I really don't fault them, to be honest with you," Haynes added. "I don't fault the kids for thinking that way. Again, there was no stability there. Again, it goes back to, 'Who am I playing for?' Once they can't say, 'We're trying to save the coaches' jobs'--if they're just playing for the university, sometimes kids feel the university let them down."
Smith was also quoted in the article.
"If a kid's hurt, he's hurt," Smith told The Sporting News. "Could some of the guys that were hurt have played with those injuries and continued on? That's up to those guys. "But I think some of the players, some of the older guys, said, 'Why should I continue on?' They were looking ahead to the NFL."
The article prompted a swift response on Twitter from former Razorback linebacker Tenarius Wright.
"That's crazy and selfish to say, Wright tweeted. "How about us the players write and article? Call it Hurricane Petrino."
"I'm beyond mad bru," Jared Green, also a senior on the 2012 team, tweeted. "Paul Petrino wasn't even a part of our most successful years and I wonder why."
Fayetteville based sports margeting agent Mike Conley Sr. also spoke to The Sporting News. He defended client Knile Davis, a former Razorback and senior on the 2012 team who spent part of the season injured.
"This story really has nothing to do with him," Conley Sr. was quoted as saying. "It definitely wasn't Knile."
Davis also reacted to the comments by Smith, Petrino and Haynes via Twitter:
"The same guys who sacrificed their time and freedom. The same guys who gave their blood, sweat and tears for that hog on the side of that helmet. The same guys who skipped an opportunity of a lifetime by not entering the draft and came back knowing the risk. The same guys who battled to get that win in the Liberty Bowl in the freezing cold. The same guys that battled to get the school's first birth in the Sugar Bowl. The same guys that fought and won he Cotton Bowl. These same guys quit on one of the most anticipated seasons in Arkansas history? I don't think so. Not these guys. Not my guys. HAWG 4 LIFE."
The entire article published online by The Sporting News can be read here: http://aol.sportingnews.com/ncaa-football/story/2013-01-30/arkansas-football-players-quit-john-l-smith-paul-petrino-paul-haynes