Recent news that the knee injury former Notre Dame linebacker Jaylon Smith suffered in the Fiesta Bowl will likely keep him out of the 2016 season, and will definitely wreck his NFL draft status, has once again sparked the debate about whether potential high draft picks should risk their health and future livelihood by playing in an otherwise meaningless bowl game.
Smith’s injury will cost him millions of dollars. Had he skipped the Fiesta Bowl, he would still be considered one of the top linebacker prospects in April’s NFL draft. Now a team will gamble by selecting him, hoping he’ll return to full strength for the 2017 season.
Legendary college football coach Steve Spurrier was a guest on the Paul Finebaum show on Wednesday and said he treated the South Carolina defensive star and former No. 1 pick Jadeveon Clowney differently because of what he had at stake financially, USA Today’s Dan Wolken tweeted Thursday.
Clowney played in 11 games during his final season in 2013, but his health and availability was a constant issue. There was speculation that Clowney was being selfish and protecting his draft status rather than putting his health on the line week in and week out.
The explosive pass rusher was ultimately taken No. 1 by the Houston Texans, and has has been dogged by injury almost ever since. It was also reported in June 2014 shortly after Clowney underwent surgery for a sports hernia that kept him out of the Texans’ minicamp, that he played with the injury during his final season at South Carolina.