Former Tennessee Vols running back Arian Foster hasn’t been back to Knoxville many times since ending his collegiate playing career in 2008.

Part of the reason is because in late 2013 Foster was vocal about receiving impermissible benefits during his time at Tennessee.

Some fans felt like he was “tattling” on the program. In reality, Foster was exposing the NCAA for the charade it is.

From ESPN:

“I don’t know if this will throw us into an NCAA investigation — my senior year (2008), I was getting money on the side,” Foster said in the video. “I really didn’t have any money. I had to either pay the rent or buy some food. I remember the feeling of like, ‘Man, be careful.’ But there’s nothing wrong with it. And you’re not going to convince me that there is something wrong with it.

Foster went on to describe a situation in which he had no food or money and called a coach.

“Either you give us some food or I’m gonna go do something stupid,” Foster recalled telling him.

The coach brought Foster and three others 50 tacos, Foster said in the documentary while chuckling at the thought that that the action constituted an NCAA violation.

In retrospect, Foster’s comments seem harmless — especially in this new world of college football that includes lucrative NIL deals.

This past weekend, Foster returned to Tennessee for what I believe was the first time since the 2013 Orange and White game.

Foster was in town with the “Macrodosing Podcast”. He was seen on the sidelines at one point as Vols head coach Josh Heupel celebrated a big play.

https://twitter.com/ChristibethP/status/1574061755311001600?s=20&t=reuYYkB4eNmDUDSXPBOdlw

Foster spoke about his return to UT on the Macrodosing Podcast this week. And he cleared up a couple of misconceptions about how he feels about Tennessee.

“There’s just like this narrative that I snitched on Tennessee,” said Foster. “It’s fascinating to me..it’s mindblowing”.

Foster pointed out that all of the Vols fans he interacted with before and after the Florida game were extremely positive and it made him happy.

“I had a moment of clarity while I was there [for the Florida game],” added Foster. “You go through a lot of stuff as a kid there and it shapes who you are. It was really good…I was telling my boys it was soulful. It was so good being back”

Foster noted several times during the podcast that he had a great time being back at Tennessee.

Maybe the Vols fans that had beef with Foster — something I never understood — can finally be done with the hate.

Foster may not be everyone’s cup of tea, but there’s no reason for fans to hate on a guy that spent four years toting the rock for the Volunteers.

This poll has ended (since 28 days).

Featured image via SAUL YOUNG, Knoxville News Sentinel, Knoxville News Sentinel via Imagn Content Services, LLC