On Monday, Tom Sorenson of the Charlotte Observer published an op-ed piece that did the journalist no favors in terms of earning respect from the football world. In his article, Sorenson stipulated that South Carolina’s superstar defensive end Jadeveon Clowney should sit out his junior season in anticipation of the 2014 NFL Draft.
Obviously, his main rationale was injuries and money. Should Clowney get hurt in what is expected to be his final season at school, he may end up sacrificing millions of dollars in League money.
However, Clowney’s coach, the winningest in school history, was never consulted by Sorenson. Steve Spurrier, always outspoken, provided his two cents on Sorenson’s silly postulation with the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.
“Well, I hope he plays this year, and I certainly believe he should play. Now if money was his only goal in life, then he couldn’t play. And he might not get into a car before next year’s draft, so he wouldn’t be in a car wreck and get injured. He would be just very, very careful for a year not to have any kind of injury.
“But Jadeveon likes football. Football players play football. They don’t wait around on this, that or the other. He’s really good about avoiding injuries and so forth. He knows how to get out of harm’s way if there’s a big pileup around a tackle. I think the odds of him getting hurt as not nearly as much as a running back or somebody like that.
“I think he wants to play. I certainly hope and believe he does. I think he should play for South Carolina this season.
“I wasn’t surprised by the media reaction to the idea because those guys have got to talk about something for three hours every day, and that’s something to talk about,” Spurrier said. “Should he stay? Should he sit out and wait for the money?
“Most of the guys that say he should sit out, they don’t realize the benefits of being on a college football team, and continuing with your teammates to have as big of a year as you possibly can. The money is going to be there down the road, so why would a person give up the thrill of playing college football?
“Those people have never played football, so they say he should sit out and get the money. That’s the only side of sports they see — the money. There’s a lot more to it than just the money.”
Spurrier’s point is clear, and it is one that is obvious to anyone BAMF enough to play the game of football in the first place: The experience of game days, and the rush of adrenaline and everything else that goes with it, are why men such as Clowney play the game in the first place.
NFL teams pay their players to practice. College programs provide scholarships to hit the gridiron at six in the morning on a hot summer’s Tuesday.
Game days, however — well, game days are free.