Leading up to bowl season, one of the prevailing storylines has been about those who are choosing not to play, namely LSU’s Leonard Fournette and Stanford’s Christian McCaffrey.
Both players are likely high NFL Draft picks and opted not to risk injury — or, in Fournette’s case, re-injury — in a game that has no implications for their future. That’s a danger that Cincinnati Bengals offensive lineman Cedric Ogbuehi knows all too well.
In the Liberty Bowl after the 2014 season, the former Texas A&M offensive lineman tore his ACL. At the time, he had a high chance of going in the top half of the first round in the NFL Draft. He still ended up as a first-rounder, taken 24th by Cincinnati, but the loss of money from what he could have earned was significant.
So he doesn’t blame either player for the decision they made, as he told the Cincinnati Enquirer.
“It’s different for my position,” Ogbuehi told the Enquirer. “If I am a running back going in the first round there’s no difference playing in the bowl game. Especially a Sun Belt Bowl. I saw his teammates were supporting him. I think it’s getting overblown. Running backs, you don’t need to play in a bowl game. Just get ready for the NFL.”
It makes sense, given the type of wear-and-tear that running backs go through in their careers and the generally short staying power they have in the NFL. Ogbuehi said that even though he got hurt, he’d still play in the bowl game because he was trying to improve his draft stock.