Secret baseball millionaire Jeff Kent got voted off Survivor: Philippines Wednesday night in one of the most last-minute, strategically all-over-the-map episodes in Survivor history. ET catches up with the baseball star, who managed to keep his professional sports identity a secret in the game, to get his take on his chaotic ouster. He also comments on Penner's random vote, Lisa's big move and Abi's confession.
ETonline: So that was one of the craziest episodes ever in the history of Survivor. I wanted to ask you about all the scrambling before tribal council. Skupin, Malcolm, Carter and Pete's names were all discussed. But why do you think it ended up being you?
Jeff: I still don't know why it was me. The only thing I can think of is I was just a casualty that nobody was thinking about, nobody had ever talked about. Maybe Pete though that he could manipulate Carter, because Carter was kinda taking to these younger people a little bit, which I was kinda worried about. Maybe they thought that I could be somebody that would be voted for and win the million bucks. I just don't know why my name came up at the last second. Which was kinda crazy, because myself and Malcolm I think were two of the players -- and Carter too -- [who could] do the challenges well. Kinda take a run at all the challenges. ... You know, we were threatening to peak, 'cause we were likeable, and we were more athletic. Those are the only reasons why I think my name came up.
ETonline: Jeff Probst said last night that the tribal council was one of the "biggest blown opportunities" in the history of the game. What's your take on that?
Jeff: Because, Jeff's always been a guy that likes to see the bottom come to the top, and the top go down to the bottom. Kalabaw had come in, the tribal council before, with an opportunity to turn itself. And everybody ripping on me about the fact that "we voted the wrong way." Well, it started off, I didn't have Denise, the Kalabaw tribe did not have Denise's vote. Denise wanted to vote with Malcolm, Malcolm wouldn't switch either, so they all voted for RC. And we just, we didn't have the vote. ... We did not have RC, we did not have Denise's vote. So to say Denise was part of our Kalabaw tribe was wrong. So then, when we went to this tribal council, we had all aired our dirty laundry, everything's aired out. So we had created a fix, that would then start to veer off, start to pick of that Tandang tribe. Everybody agreed upon it in just faith. We were gonna be strong. Skupin was now gonna be back on, you know back in with the good group. We had an opportunity there. And Penner, because Penner thought he was always on the chopping block, Penner had an opportunity there. So we would have the numbers. And then, you know Skupin being as smart as he is, and Penner, I don't know where Penner came from out way out in left field, voted the wrong way, so therefore I get kicked out. And it just proved right there, that now the Tandang tribe, who was stronger in numbers coming into the merge is gonna stay that way. Now they're gonna start to pick everybody off. And it was a joke, because Skupin was on the bottom in that Tandang tribe, and he could've flipped himself, and he didn't take it. So I think that's what Jeff meant by that.
Related: Survivor Katie: My Tribe Will Regret Voting Me Out
ETonline: Yeah, and I was surprised that Penner voted for Abi. Was that strategic? Or was that just that he didn't know what was going on?
Jeff: You know the quickest way I can explain it to you is, he played both sides of the fence. I think he believed that Skupin would vote our way, so I would have enough votes to stay. So Pete would go home. And I think Penner tried to also say, if Pete just happened to use the immunity idol tonight, Penner could go back in the camp showing that he didn't vote for Pete. Therefore, he could save face a little bit. And plus, Abi was rubbing people the wrong way. So maybe he was trying to throw a barb at her or something, I don't know.
ETonline: I also wanted to ask you what you thought of Lisa's big move?
Jeff: Well Lisa's big move is now starting to play the game. She never played the game before. The whole time we were out there. And all of a sudden with one or two days, she's trying to figure things out. ... Let me tell you this. I think Lisa has exposed herself now in a bad way. Because now she's blabbing her mouth, she's telling everybody. Keeping a personal secret, like keeping that idol quiet, she had a chance to build an alliance with Malcolm. And she didn't take it. She burned the bridge. And I don't think she's gonna be able to walk back over that bridge. Gone. And she really hurt herself.
Related: Lisa Whelchel Snuffs Blair's Torch on 'Survivor'
ETonline: And then there was another shocking thing that happened in tribal council, with Abi revealing her immunity idol. Why do you think she did that?
Jeff: I think we all knew she had it. I think everybody was talking about it. And ... Abi didn't really understand the concept of the game and how to play it socially. She was learning as she was going and she was learning fast. But her exposing that idol -- I don't know why. She's that in-your-face type of a person. Like you be sassy to her, she's gonna be more sassy to you. I think she dropped that idol in everybody's face to show that she's more sassy than everybody else, "Haha look what I got."
ETonline: I wanted to ask you just in terms of the whole game if you have any regrets and if you would do anything differently?
Jeff: The only regret I have is trying to convince Denise more assertively that she should play offensively rather than defensively. 'Cause that's what got me killed. It was the fact that I went to Denise personally and said, "Look, let's try to create something here. Let's move." Instead of just being passive and waiting, and just allowing veterans to get out, let's use these veterans. Let's use them, and take them with us, and let's use their vote and let's go forward. And she said "Nah, I'm just gonna kinda vote with Malcolm. I'm gonna go with the flow for now." And I allowed that to happen, and I got burnt.
ETonline: Were you surprised ultimately that no one found out that you are a baseball player?
Jeff: Not really. You know people are so focused in on the game. And I was hoping my tall white guy with a mustache thing didn't give me away, you know no guys are wearing mustaches anymore. I didn't look too athletic out there, you know I was carrying a spare tire. I was an older player. So I was really not surprised. I didn't know Dawson knew who I was. I knew she had a sports background a little bit, but I was grateful that nobody found out who I was. Not too surprised.
ETonline: I asked Dawson when I interviewed her why she didn't out you. Because that was kind of surprising.
Jeff: She could've. ... She's a good kid, and she's very entertaining for us, but I just don't think she's very wise in playing the game. And maybe that could've been an advantage for her. I tell you this though, if she would've come to me and said "I know who you are." I would've done everything I could to keep her mouth shut. And work with her. And show her favors more than I did. But once I got wind of her having maybe an idea, combined with the fact that the type of player she was, I knew she became a liability and I needed to get rid of her.
Related: Dawson on her Probst Kiss
ETonline: You hurt your knee when you were getting off of the boat the first day. Did that continue the whole time you were out there, or did it eventually get better?
Jeff: It did. The swelling had gone down, and it had gotten a little better, but everything that I did out there was painful. I tried to pick and choose the challenges that I could be aggressive on and the other challenges is that kinda wanted to hide my knee injury. There were so many things I did out there. The ball catch. ... Anything that had to do with mud on the ground, slipping and sliding, that really scared me. It hurt pretty good so... I've dealt with injuries throughout my career so I just dealt with this one.
ETonline: Do you think your sports background made you better suited for something like that?
Jeff: Absolutely. I knew why I had hurt my knee, I knew what was wrong with it, and I knew how to protect it. I was able to keep it quiet and hide it, and keep pressure on it, and stay off it, so I was able to just you know, get through the game.
ETonline: One last question. With everyone left in the game, who do you think is going to win the million dollars?
Jeff: There's a few of 'em. I think Malcolm is an admirable player, he's got the idol. I've got Denise, a very sneaky under-the-radar type person as good quality people. And then you've got the other side, which is maybe Lisa, or Skupin or Penner. Penner might even survive a long time too. Maybe, Abi-Maria. Abi-Maria probably top of that list, 'cause she's pissin' a lot of people off. So she might be good to come back at the final three. If some of the people who have pissed others off, get with the people who really haven't had a lot of people off. And obviously those people who haven't picked a lot of people off get a little better chance to win. It's hard to say, but you know the quality people that I like out there right now are probably Denise, Malcolm, and I'm pulling for Carter though. I hope Carter wins.
Survivor airs Wednesday nights at 8/7 on CBS.