Christian McCaffrey says NFL execs have asked often about skipping his bowl game

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Former Stanford running back Christian McCaffrey has known the questions would be coming at this week’s NFL Scouting Combine.

And they have.

McCaffrey made the unsurprising announcement last December that he would be giving up his final season of college football to enter the NFL Draft, then he made at least a somewhat surprising announcement that he would also sit out Stanford’s bowl game to prepare for a pro career. It was hard to blame him for sitting out an exhibition to protect himself, but he knew it would bring questions from NFL evaluators about his thought process and commitment to his team.

“I just tell them how it is,” McCaffrey said, per ESPN.com. “When they ask, I’m extremely honest with them, and then we move on to now and playing football. I just know I made that decision, it’s a career decision, it was a man decision, to try to protect my dream of playing and succeeding in the NFL. And whether it gave me an advantage or not, I stuck with it and I’m here now moving on.”

McCaffrey then made clear that he’s done talking about the Sun Bowl and eager to talk about the NFL.

“My teammates…every single one of them supported me, had my back,” McCaffrey said. “They gave me a little ovation, and I got a lot of love from my teammates. It was one of the toughest decisions I’ve ever had to make. I was just happy to have a lot of guys who had my back then.”

The son of former Broncos wide receiver Ed McCaffrey is one of this draft’s most interesting players because of his big-play ability and his ability to play multiple positions.

Though we’ll never know what’s actually asked and answered in the Scouting Combine’s interview sessions, Broncos vice president of football operations John Elway gave an honest answer about McCaffrey’s situation when he was asked.

“When I thought about it, kind of the old-school in me wanted to come out saying, ‘Why would those guys not play? It’s their last game,’ this and that,” Elway said. “But I tell you what, when you look at where the league is now and talk about the value of these contracts and these players coming out and the risk they’re taking, the old salty guy in me got flipped back to understanding.”

43 responses to “Christian McCaffrey says NFL execs have asked often about skipping his bowl game

  1. It was a business decision plain and simple. I won’t be surprised when players decide to skip larger parts of the junior and senior years of college also. There really should be a football league that just uses college age players which plays its games between February and April that pays its players. That league would only be competing with the NBA, NHL, and NCAA basketball for ratings not the NCAA Football or NFL. That league could even hold its own scouting combine. The NFL could just hold its draft in early to mid May.

  2. He helped make the bitter old men of the NCAA enough money.

    What they don’t seem to realize is that if they don’t start paying these kids and all0wing them to make money through endorsements, in the not too distant future they’ll see almost every star college player supposed to play in one of these bowl games sit out.

    For that matter anyone who expects to be drafted by the NFL will likely be sitting out these games within 10-15 years unless the NCAA starts coughing up some money. Why put your NFL health at risk for what is a meaningless game for you? Most of these kids aren’t getting degrees that will let them make a serious income. Its NFL or bust for a lot of them and they have to protect themselves.

  3. You put yourself ahead of the team. Not good buddy. Glad NFL teams are taking these types of decisions into consideration.

  4. That’s actually a really good quote by Elway, and probably accurate to how a lot of us feel about that type of situation.

  5. I’m ambivalent and honest. It’s simple really. CM put himself before his team at that particular juncture of his college career. I’m sure he didn’t yell “Team!” when he decided that one. Is he going to coast while his team is trying to fight for a playoff spot in a contract year for him? Raises the question if money is his motivation. I’m sure, discussed with his Dad, all these perceptions that could be. How far will he drop? Love the game, please, kids of today! Go back to leather helmets, NFL!

  6. “When I thought about it, kind of the old-school in me wanted to come out saying, ‘Why would those guys not play? It’s their last game,’ this and that,” Elway said.

    Is this the same old-school Elway who refused to play for the team that drafted him?

  7. Seems pretty simple of an answer,
    My season had come to an end. Stanford did not qualify for the 4 team NCAA championship tournament. Getting in the way of the coaching staff to get an early head start on evaluating players who might take my position on the Stanford football team next season would be selfish on my part. My Stanford football career had ended, other guys deserve the opportunity to play in the scrimmage.

  8. jjb0811 says:
    Why not ask why the junior players decide to skip their senior seasons for a shot at the league?
    —-
    Not the same thing.
    I’m not saying what Christian McCaffrey did is good or bad. But a guy who comes out after his junior year declares for the draft AFTER the season is over and far ahead of the next one. His college team knows it, plans for it, and has a scholarship open for someone else.
    In this case, McCaffrey came back on scholarship, got a quarter or two of free education, played most of the season, had coaches and teammates counting on him, then quit before the season was finished.
    I understand he did it. But his scenario and the one you described are not the same, and I also get why he’s being asked the question.

  9. I get it ..the NFL executives are puzzled as to why any college football
    player would pass up the chance to get an I-watch or some type of
    trinket as payment/ reward for playing in the bowl game.
    Why would a player who has a chance to lose a million or two
    ( see Notre Dame player Jaylon Smith ….he lost between 6- 10 million dollars!! ) turn down the chance to play in El Paso which borders on the most violent city in the world and has such a beautiful tourist
    area and lose out on a 500 dollar I-watch!
    The NCAA and all the schools made over a billion dollars in revenue.
    Stanford has sold McCaffery shirts that generated probably close to a million dollars and he gets nothing.
    What happens if he suffered an injury resulting in permanently disabling him…..well ….if you look at prior NCAA behavior …they
    cut off all medical benefits in 2-3 years leaving the player and family destitute. Of course the players have no income while they are trying to
    regain some ability to walk.
    The NFL executives know the score ..it won’t hurt him. The questions
    are a result of the boring process of the combine ….where bored NFL
    coaches watch the drills for 8 hours from a luxury box.

  10. McCaffrey made what he thought was a good business decision and passed up the chance to play a game. A game that is far more meaningful than the label “exhibition” implies.

    If I’m an NFL GM, I’m wondering whether he’s committed to the business of football or committed to the game of football. I would have little interest in the former and concentrate my draft evaluation on guys that rate high in the latter.

  11. “It’s a career decision”

    Good for him. Why are athletes looked at differently for this than people of any other profession?

  12. Those giving tacit approval to McCaffrey abandoning his team when it appears his was 100% are missing the point completely. If a star player lacked the desire to finish a season with the same group he’s played with, what’s going to happen in the pros? Is this a player who will exaggerate injuries, and only show up in key games?

    Injuries can happen in practice as well, and you’ve got to question a player’s heart and passion for the sport.

    Don’t think this story is going to turn out well, I see a disappointing pro career ahead.

  13. Well we all know what Stanford winning the Hyundai Sun Bowl means right??????? Absolutely Nothing.

    That’s why C Mac skipped that bowl game, and he probably did it with his Head Coach’s blessing; who just recently spoke highly of him as an athlete and student.

  14. Que all the TB12 Pj footy club that thinks they’ll sway Chris to play for NE for free.
    Problem here kids, Tommy Terrific is done this year. PLAY TILL 50? BRING IT flabby. Seriously though. Supermodel looked waaaaaay better when I was 26.

  15. pau49ers says:
    Mar 2, 2017 9:40 PM
    You put yourself ahead of the team. Not good buddy. Glad NFL teams are taking these types of decisions into consideration.

    ____________________________

    I’d agree with this if he had been playing for a championship. These exhibition bowl games generate huge money for the NCAA and provide little if any benefit to the players. Look what happened to Jaylon Smith, he suffered permanent damage to his peroneal nerve in his exhibition bowl game and it will likely cost him millions.

  16. He is making a career decision – no different than a computer genius would have to make if he were offered a job in the middle of his senior year. Or that we would have to make if a once-in-a-lifetime job opportunity arose while we were in the middle of working on a major product for our current employer.

  17. Not sure if he is an every down back in the NFL but he could be a great 3Rd down, pass catching back. I w9uldnt touch him till round 3. That being said, I think he was 100% right to skip the game. It was a meaningless bowl game. Had it been the rose bowl or final 4 game I am sure he would have played.

  18. reptar310 says:
    Mar 2, 2017 9:33 PM
    It was a business decision plain and simple. I won’t be surprised when players decide to skip larger parts of the junior and senior years of college also. There really should be a football league that just uses college age players which plays its games between February and April that pays its players. That league would only be competing with the NBA, NHL, and NCAA basketball for ratings not the NCAA Football or NFL. That league could even hold its own scouting combine. The NFL could just hold its draft in early to mid May.
    ——————————————————
    The USFL was kind of like that. It was fun until some idiot named Trump killed the league by trying to compete with the NFL.

  19. harrisonhits2 says:
    Mar 2, 2017 9:33 PM

    IF the NCAA starts paying players (which a lot of them are paid in tuition room and board) how much do you think they will be paid????? Lets say 100K/season……….sooooo ummmm they would STILL opt to sit out the bowl games to stay healthy for multi-million dollar contracts in the NFL. I am 100% ok with not paying college players. You get a free tuition AND the opportunity to showcase your talent and show the NFL what your made of to earn the big money. College players already think they are above the law and screw universities with their childish acts (jameis winston), giving them more $ than already whats given to them under the table is not going to help anyone.

  20. Every year probably about 5 coaches leave some directional school for a better coaching job and don’t coach in the bowl game. Why shouldn’t players in a similar position do the same thing? If you ask me its what they learn from coaches.

  21. oddte says:
    Mar 3, 2017 3:51 AM

    I agree to a certain degree. Yes there is a difference between a Championship game and just a bowl game. But McCaffrey is where he’s at because of his teammates. And for a lot of his teammates the bowl game is their last game ever and something to hold onto forever. He is basically saying “thanks for helping me get to where im at, now that you need help with what will be the biggest game of your life im going to sit out and wait for my big money”. I cant say he is 100% wrong, but that is something that is kinda crappy to do to your teammates who helped you get where you are today. If i was an NFL owner that would be something that i’d keep in mind when drafting. You dont ever want that guy walking through routes b/c your already eliminated from teh playoffs and he just doesnt want to hurt himself. Play 100% for every game of every year.

  22. McCaffrey’s response should have been ” Well why did you guys pass on (insert injured 1st roud projected player who got hurt late in college season)?

    And if they give you a crappy answer thats all you need to know about that team..

  23. ” all the TB12 Pj footy club that thinks they’ll sway Chris to play for NE for free.”

    Dude, put the crack pipe down, its not good for you.

  24. Year 1 in the pros and his team he eliminated from playoff contention in week 12. Does he fake an injury and just skip the last 4 games?

  25. He knows what he is doing, of and by the way, He is the son of former Stanford and NFL wide receiver Ed McCaffrey and former Stanford soccer star Lisa McCaffrey, who is the daughter of U.S. Olympian Dave Sime.

    He’s a smart kid that I would want playing on my NFL team any day. He’s got the pro pedigree to back up his decisions on how to handle these professional athletic career moves.

  26. God forbid he skipped the one and only… SUN BOWL!!!!!!!!!!

    This will be a trend very very soon….

  27. He will be drafted by the Patriots to form the first all white offense in the NFL in many years. Another SB run for NE! At some point the NFL will figure out that Bill has the smartest team and that’s why they win! He fits the Patriots!

  28. I’m not buying any of the arguments in favor of him skipping the bowl game. They all boil down to the same thing: “He might get hurt. Jalen Smith got hurt and it cost him millions.” Hogwash. If Smith is as good as advertised, he’ll more than make up for that lost money on his second contract. And if you take the “What if I get hurt” mentality, YOU WILL GET HURT! You cannot play sports at a high level worrying if you might get hurt.

    Everyone considering the McCaffrey path – shut up, park your ego in neutral, tell your schizophrenic agent (that you already have) to take a lithium, stand with your teammates and play the damn bowl game.

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