Get used to more college star players sitting out bowl games. The decisions byStanford’s Christian McCaffrey and LSU’s Leonard Fournette to focus on the NFL Draft and the next stage in their career instead of playing in what is now deemed to be a meaningless bowl game is a smart decision.
LSU Head Coach Ed Orgeron said:“I know if Leonard was 100 percent, he’d be playing with us. No question. I do believe, myself personally, that if you’re 100 percent, you should finish off with your team.”
Fournette is not completely healthy as he continues to deal with an ankle injury and he will not be finishing the season with the team in the Citrus Bowl.
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For McCaffrey, he made his decision known on the Stanford website in a self-written statement that was titled, “My Next Step.” It was a well-crafted statement and he made sure to thank everyone that helped in his journey to get to where he is today. He will also not be joining his teammates in the Sun Bowl at Stanford takes on North Carolina.
In a pair of tweets, current Cowboys running back and former Ohio State star Ezekial Elliott said, "All these young guys deciding to skip their bowl games. I would do anything to play one more time with my brothers in that scarlet and gray."
One last time to honor your university and one last chance to play with your boys who will be your brothers for life.
Like the example above, both players have been criticized across the country because they are star players and their decision is widely considered to be selfish. Fournette answered some of that criticism by tweeting out a picture of himself and his daughter, Lyric, saying that is the only person he owes something to. Which is correct.
Don’t tell me about insurance policies either, this is not just about the money. They want to play at the next level and also make the money, too.
College players don’t owe the university or the fans anything because everything that they have accomplished they have earned themselves. They were not handed a scholarship to a respective university, they earned it by dedicating themselves to the sport of football.
For those that criticize them for bailing on their teammates, that is also a lame argument. If there is anyone that would understand the decisions by these two players and would agree with the decision, it would be their teammates. Let’s not forget that both Fournette and McCaffrey were the faces and the engines to both football programs for the last two years.
After all, how often do we criticize coaches for leaving programs for bigger and better programs. A perfect case was this offseason when Tom Herman left Houston for Texas. He is getting paid a ton of money and the Longhorns are his "dream job." Good for him, he made his dreams come true.
All players have a perfect example of someone having their NFL dreams altered in Notre Dame linebacker Jaylon Smith. He was expected to be a first round pick last spring, but ended up going in the second round after suffering a severe knee injury in last year’s Fiesta Bowl. He has not played a single down for the Cowboys this season as they wait for the nerve damage in his knee to heel.
That injury last bowl season had to be an eye-opener for college football players across the country. McCaffrey and Fournette are looking to have their dreams come true next spring when they are drafted into the NFL. They have worked their entire lives to get there and have dedicated themselves to make their dreams come true. The college programs, like LSU and Stanford, that they played for were the vehicle to make that dream happen, no more no less.
Both their decisions to skip the respective bowl games was the smart decision. After all, why risk it? The juice is not worth the squeeze. They have nothing more to prove.