College Football Breakdown
When LSU meets Louisville in the Citrus Bowl on Jan. 1, star running back Leonard Fournette will not play. He has announced that his college career is over and his focus is on the NFL.
People hate him for this. Not his teammates. People who are running their mouths, but absolutely no risk.
Another top back, Christian McCaffery also will not play when Stanford takes on North Carolina Dec. 30 in the Sun Bowl. People hate him for this. Not his teammates. People who are running their mouths, but absolutely no risk.
Hall of Famer Marshall Faulk, who surely should know better, has wondered on social media how a player who is afraid of getting hurt in one game will make it through a 16-game NFL season. That’s not even a reasonable thought. Ezekiel Elliott, the rookie standout with the Dallas Cowboys, said he wished he could play one more game with Ohio State – after giving up his senior season to turn pro. Does anyone think before he talks or tweets?
Fournette, bothered all season by an ankle injury, missed four of LSU’s first six games and the finale. He’s a likely top 10 pick in the NFL draft. He feels it’s time to move on and sent out a photo on Twitter that indicated he had only one person to worry about as he made this decision – his baby daughter.
McCaffery, who father Ed played in the NFL, also said he would now focus on training for the NFL. The drop from the first round is precipitous economically.
Fans (and, obviously, some former players) question these players’ loyalty to their school and their teammates. None of those fans will be injured sitting on the couch.
Coaches (Tom Herman, Jeff Brohm) skip out on their teams and recruits and miss bowl games all the time and collect millions for their opportunism. But the player is supposed to be bound by some code of loyalty, when his livelihood may be at stake.
Were LSU or Stanford in football’s final four, one suspects they’d stay and play with a title at stake. For the Citrus Bowl or the Sun Bowl, what’s the point? It’s a TV product that pays everyone but the folks bearing the risk.
Post By: Larry Weisman, a longtime sportswriter for USA TODAY, blogs for Twistity.com. Follow him on Twitter @MrLarryWeisman