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Jaylon Smith: No regrets about playing in the Fiesta Bowl

SOUTH BEND, IN - SEPTEMBER 19: Jaylon Smith #9 of the Notre Dame Fighting Irish returns a fumble against the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets in the third quarter at Notre Dame Stadium on September 19, 2015 in South Bend, Indiana. Notre Dame defeated Georgia Tech 30-22. (Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images) Getty Images

Heading into the Fiesta Bowl, Notre Dame linebacker Jaylon Smith was considered one of the best prospects in the 2016 NFL draft, and a potential first overall pick. But after suffering a severe knee injury in that game, Smith now admits he has no idea when he might be picked.

And yet Smith says he doesn’t regret playing in the Fiesta Bowl, and would do it all over again if given the chance.

“Even if I had a chance to go back, I would play in the bowl game again. You’re playing in the Fiesta Bowl, first time in my life, against a great team in Ohio State. I would never want to let my teammates down, and no regrets,” Smith said on NFL Network.

That’s a positive outlook, and Smith is an easy player to root for. But even if Smith has no regrets, his injury will raise further questions about why players should risk their bodies for free when an NFL payday is around the corner. Eventually, some draft prospect may decide to sit out a bowl game, or even sit out his entire junior season, simply to get himself ready for the NFL. And if he does, it would be hard to blame him.

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34 Responses to “Jaylon Smith: No regrets about playing in the Fiesta Bowl”
  1. floratiotime says: Feb 28, 2016 2:01 PM

    No regrets? C’mon … it’s ok to wish you didn’t play in the game where you got hurt.

  2. Wisconsin's Favorite Son Jeffrey Be Dahmed says: Feb 28, 2016 2:02 PM

    We need this guy in Green Bay. He can make zero tackles and watch Larry run down the field as well as Clay at half the price.

  3. kd75 says: Feb 28, 2016 2:02 PM

    If any player begins to think his draft status is set in stone and skips a Bowl game, he will find out it was never set and he will fall a few rounds.

    That’s like a pending free agent sitting out a playoff game/Super Bowl because he knows he has a big contract coming up.

  4. pftcancer says: Feb 28, 2016 2:04 PM

    When an NFL payday is around the corner, and a prospect plays in a bowl game to be there for his teammates, then you tip your cap to the young man and say “Well done young man, well done.”

    You can’t fault the guy for unselfishness. All too often, these guys get big heads and don’t care about the team. Well, I like this kid, even more so that he felt he needed to be there for his team and would do it again knowing the outcome. Best of luck for a speedy recovery and long, successful career.

  5. thestrategyexpert says: Feb 28, 2016 2:05 PM

    1st Round talent
    +
    1st Round class
    +
    doing everything in his power to have conviction that he’ll be fine
    =
    1st Round pick

  6. gomybirdsgo says: Feb 28, 2016 2:06 PM

    Someone is going to get a great player a year from now in th 3rd or 4th round

  7. ttommytom says: Feb 28, 2016 2:15 PM

    It’s the right thing to say.

    It’s a ‘moving forward’ attitude which bodes well for anyone wanting to invest in his future.

    Hope he becomes the player we saw on Saturdays…

  8. jason49er says: Feb 28, 2016 2:16 PM

    kd75 says:
    Feb 28, 2016 2:02 PM
    If any player begins to think his draft status is set in stone and skips a Bowl game, he will find out it was never set and he will fall a few rounds.

    That’s like a pending free agent sitting out a playoff game/Super Bowl because he knows he has a big contract coming up.
    ———————————————-

    The difference is if you are a pending free agent you can sign a 1 year deal with a team that benefits you and rehab your value for next year. This guy will get picked by some random team and slotted in for 4 years on a deal for pennies on the dollar what a 1st overall will make on his rookie contract. 4 years is a long time.

  9. firerogergoodell says: Feb 28, 2016 2:23 PM

    Keep doubting this kid I dare you…

    He will still end up being the best player from this Draft.

  10. greenbaychicksarefat says: Feb 28, 2016 2:25 PM

    If he sits out the entire year, he’d still be the best LB on the Packers

  11. kissmysandwich says: Feb 28, 2016 2:37 PM

    Dead wrong MDS. Anyone who quits on his team because of a prospective payday is a loser and we can blame him for being a selfish a-hole. News flash. Money is not the only thing in this world that matters.

  12. realtruthteller100 says: Feb 28, 2016 2:47 PM

    what does “fiesta” even mean. if u wanna play in the NATIONAL football league maybe u should play in a bowl with a AMERICAN name. SMH

  13. ebdug says: Feb 28, 2016 2:59 PM

    It’s a good chance for that GM from a coupla days ago, who said teams don’t expect to play their first rounders the first year, to put his money where his mouth is.

  14. vegagreenleaf says: Feb 28, 2016 3:06 PM

    And what exactly is an American name? SMH is right, but for the wrong reasons, pal.

  15. upnorthvikesfan says: Feb 28, 2016 3:17 PM

    There is a very good reason not to pay them. Just like any student going to school to become a doctor, accountant, lawyer or anything else, you are prepping for your “working” life. A player is basically studying to be a pro just as any other student studies. Yes, there are risks. But no promises of a job are made to students studying anything else.

  16. PhD says: Feb 28, 2016 3:28 PM

    He has no regrets because he knows there are addicted gamblers like Trent Baalke around who’s single-handedly ruined a team taking chances on injured prospects.

  17. PriorKnowledge says: Feb 28, 2016 3:28 PM

    realtruthteller100 says:
    Feb 28, 2016 2:47 PM
    what does “fiesta” even mean. if u wanna play in the NATIONAL football league maybe u should play in a bowl with a AMERICAN name. SMH

    And what does ignorant mean? Really SMH, but mostly at American public education.

  18. purplepride11 says: Feb 28, 2016 3:30 PM

    Imagine him in the vikings with Barr and kendricks! That would be insane!

  19. cueghost says: Feb 28, 2016 3:35 PM

    You know you won’t have him this year… so it’s going to take just the right team to spend a high pick on him. I think he’s more likely to fall into the late 2nd or maybe even 3rd. Teams are very cautious in the 1st 2 rounds.

  20. oldhuskerfan says: Feb 28, 2016 4:03 PM

    With his attitude, GMs will be giving him a long look. Team first, body second, how old school.

  21. tjacks7 says: Feb 28, 2016 4:03 PM

    what does “fiesta” even mean.

    Luckily for us, these guys named George and Charles Merriam and Noah Webster put together a big book full of words and their meanings. It’s commonly referred to as the dictionary.

  22. shogunassasin30 says: Feb 28, 2016 4:15 PM

    It is not the media’s job to basically encourage kids to skip out on games. Not everyone holds your virtues, and really the only people trying to start this conversation is people like you. Maybe Jaylon smith felt a responsibility to his teammates and didn’t want to bail and make it all about himself. I know, quite the concept.

  23. loc0brown says: Feb 28, 2016 4:34 PM

    Didn’t Ted Ginn do that with OSU? Pulled himself out?

  24. axespray says: Feb 28, 2016 4:39 PM

    greenbaychicksarefat says:
    Feb 28, 2016 2:25 PM
    If he sits out the entire year, he’d still be the best LB on the Packers
    ———————————–
    The viking’s offense averaged 13 points per game and allowed 4.5 sacks per game against those linebackers.

    Peterson had less than 70 yards in both games, but hey – trash talk, not like your team squeaked by with a division title cause the Packers were wiped out with injuries on offense or anything.

  25. wclj says: Feb 28, 2016 4:51 PM

    I love this kid. If he goes in the first round, it will be a case of the rich getting richer. Al most no one, other than the final four, Denver, New England, Carolina and Arizona, can afford to use a first round pick on someone who can’t help them his first year.

  26. whatjusthapped says: Feb 28, 2016 4:59 PM

    Sounds like Todd Gurley all over again. The Rams picked him knowing it would be awhile before he played but once he got on the field, the injury is a distant memory.

    The team that picks Jaylon Smith is in the same situation, he wouldn’t be ready and likely not to even see the field in 216 but should be a stud once he suits up.

    Deep teams like the Packers and Broncos can afford to wait, shallow teams like the Vikings wouldn’t even look in that direction.

  27. coachbeck says: Feb 28, 2016 5:06 PM

    Bengals took a top 5 talent at OT who had a knee injury last year. They have zero issue holding a guy for half a season or more. This is exactly the type of steal the Bengals feast on…. Add him to burfict and they got something at LB.

  28. damonpsu says: Feb 28, 2016 6:39 PM

    Perriman, white, and fowler were first rounders who never saw a snap their rookie year. Essentially same situation just a jump on rehab

  29. nhpats says: Feb 28, 2016 7:22 PM

    kissmysandwich says:
    Feb 28, 2016 2:37 PM
    Dead wrong MDS. Anyone who quits on his team because of a prospective payday is a loser and we can blame him for being a selfish a-hole. News flash. Money is not the only thing in this world that matters.
    ————–
    Somebody should have explained all this to Cam Newton before he ran away from his fumble like it was about to explode

  30. bossedupphinfan1000 says: Feb 28, 2016 7:35 PM

    Would have loved him in Miami but we have many needs including his position but our 8th pick has got to be a selection that can make an impact in the up coming season IMO

  31. lukedunphysscienceproject says: Feb 28, 2016 9:47 PM

    It’s cute the way you act like he had a choice in the matter. For someone who makes a living in this industry, you show a surprising naivety about how the NFL/NCAA Cartel works. These were the 3 possible outcomes for Smith as regards to the Fiesta Bowl:

    1) Play and don’t get hurt: Draft status unaffected.

    2) Play and get hurt: Draft status negatively affected.

    3) Don’t play: Draft status negatively affected.

    Three options, two of them bad.

  32. descendency says: Feb 29, 2016 8:46 AM

    He’s young. He’s talented. He’ll heal. if he comes back 90-95%, he’ll be fine.

  33. tweetypiehearts says: Feb 29, 2016 10:37 AM

    another in a long list of notre dame busts

  34. ttalarico says: Feb 29, 2016 11:05 AM

    Great kid!

    If a player sits out a Bowl game, they should have to pay back the scholarship money they received such as tuition and room and board.

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