Ohio State cornerback Denzel Ward skips the Cotton Bowl

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Ohio State ends its season with a major non-playoff bowl against USC. Buckeyes cornerback Denzel Ward decided to skip the game.

“To my family, friends, and Buckeye nation, I will not be participating in the Cotton Bowl,” Ward said on social media. “This was a very difficult decision that I ultimately had to make. But at the end of the day I feel this is the best decision for my family and I. I had countless conversations with my coaches about this decision well before the game. Though I was deciding not to participate in the bowl game I did not want to leave my teammates and coaches to pursue my dream just yet. I wanted to continue to be a part of the team and support my team in any way possible.”

Two years ago in the Fiesta Bowl involving Ohio State and Notre Dame, Irish linebacker Jaylon Smith suffered a serious knee injury, along with nerve damage. It knocked him to round two and wiped out his rookie season.

While the decision ultimately belongs to the player, it’s smart for each player to make a conscientious business decision about whether to participate in a bowl game. For some, the risk will outweigh the reward. In those situations, no one should complain or call the player selfish. Everyone connected to college football gets paid except for the players, and if/when the players are on the brink of cashing in, they should have the right to choose to protect their health and marketability.

Ward is widely regarded as a first-round lock, and possibly a top-10 pick.

43 responses to “Ohio State cornerback Denzel Ward skips the Cotton Bowl

  1. “In those situations, no one should complain or call the player selfish.”

    Bull. The NFL Draft has been around since 1936, and players routinely played in bowl games until this decade. Another example of this softness of this country and the generation known as millenials.

  2. I would like to see the colleges be able to pay for insurance for these players if they get injured in the bowl games.

    Its not direct compensation but helps the player from taking the complete risk of injury without any future compensation.

  3. TomsulasMustache says:
    December 29, 2017 at 9:01 pm
    Smart decision for him and his family. Not a guy I’d want fighting next to me in battle though

    ————-

    Lucky for you this isn’t a battle. It’s a football game. Two different scenarios, requiring two different mindsets.

    He can can risk injury to play a meaningless game or sit out and get drafted as high as he can. Once he’s out of college, none of his teammate will give a damn about what happens to him anyway. Very few are true friends, most will try to leach off him when he’s making millions.

  4. 1. If this was your son, would you really tell him to risk tens of millions of dollars to play in a meaningless exhibition game, for the grand sum of zero dollars?

    2. You think Clayton Thorson wishes he had skipped his game?

  5. This seems to be happening more and more. Pretty much shows how important these games are to the players. Time to scrap the bowl system and just have a good ole fashioned 8 team playoff.

  6. TomsulasMustache says:
    December 29, 2017 at 9:01 pm
    Smart decision for him and his family. Not a guy I’d want fighting next to me in battle though

    ————

    Good news. He will never be fighting next to you in battle

    He is good at football

  7. If I could pass on one day to avoid risking millions and maybe the rest of my career while in my early 20’s I would do it in a heartbeat and so would the rest of you.
    Anyone that says different is not being honest and you are not fooling anyone.
    The college game uses these guys and spits them out.

  8. The bowl sponsors are loaded. They can take out insurance policies on these players to protect them so they can play or this will continue to become the norm.

  9. Can’t blame him. An NFL players career averages 3 years. He needs to get as much as he can before his body or his abilities force him out of the NFL.

  10. Don’t blame him but he should either be at home or in the stands. In the real world, when you quit, they don’t allow you back in the building and they usually escort you out with security. At one time in history college was supposed to get you ready for the real world.

  11. Now this is a smart guy. I would want to go into battle with a smart guy like him. Here is a question for the morons who are upset over his decision. Why should Denzel Ward gamble his future and future earnings by playing in a meaningless game, where he could become injured, that only enriches the universities and their staff?

  12. Wow, the Big10 is crushing the Pac10 across the bowl games this year. The Huskies is the last chance for the Pac10 against Penn State.

    js

  13. Everyone connected to college football gets paid except for the players

    Wrong…Full ride at Ohio State, $40,000 per year

  14. Jeffrey Okudah had to start that game as a True freshmen. He was looking frustrated after that last PI call. He’s gonna be a great CB. Probably one of the best CBs to come out of Columbus if he puts in the work.. He needs to hold his head up.

    Denzel Ward is a good CB with safety instincts and intelligence. If he weighed about 10-15 pounds more Seattle would have be able to replace Earl Thomas with him. Nevertheless, he’s Pound for Pound the best CB in the draft.

    The play of the year is when Maryland was trying to throw to Denzel’s side and tried to clear him out with a vertical route with a slot receiver running an out route underneath it. Denzel diagnosed the play quickly and stepped up to knock the receiver senseless. It was a clean hit but it looked so vicious he got tossed for “targeting”.

    He’ll be a perfect fit for that Seattle style defense that the league is trending towards. He’s not a Prototype CB for that defense, but his athleticism and instincts makes him a fit for it. Especially the way he can diagnose plays, and can come off his assignment to make plays.

  15. Scholarships should be re-written so as to penalize a player for selfishly choosing to not to participate in games after the regular season; if you choose to do so, you should lose half of your tuition coverage and then be forced to cough up a student loan to cover the balance or you are off the team for good.

    I understand why players do this, but the fact is that if they got a scholarship, they should have to play.

    Or they can play without a scholarship and make all the individual decisions they want to do.

  16. Oh you sweet summer children. Please open your eyes. The players owe nothing to bowl game sponsors

  17. “In those situations, no one should complain or call the player selfish. ”

    People still have the right to complain about whatever they wish to complain about in this country.

    In this situation, Ward put his own interests above his team’s interest. There is no more true definition of “selfish” than that. You can argue that he owes himself more than he owes THE Ohio State or his teammates. You can argue it is smart to not take the risk. But it’s a tough sell to claim this is not a selfish decision. Maybe it will be an isolated selfish decision, like all those dirty hits by players that claim they are not dirty players. But if I’m a GM that is assessing whether he’s work hard after being given big $$ 2nd contract, this choice will be a factor. So it’s a good thing for Ward and all others that make the same choice that I’m not a GM.

  18. I understand his decision but I can’t say I wasn’t disappointed. We better get used to this. With the money at stake due to a potential injury it’s going to be happening more often.

    By the way, I do believe colleges are allowed to pay for an insurance policy for the guy. The problem is insurance companies have LOTS of lawyers employed for the sole purpose of NOT paying claims. Sure, he can have an insurance policy but it likely won’t be for as much as he would get had he not been injured. Plus, there’s no guarantee the insurance company won’t find a way to weasel out of it or tie up the settlement in lawsuits for years.

  19. Unless you’re in the playoff , you should sit out if you’re a expected 1st round pick. When guys sit out the national championship game, then there’s a problem.

  20. cafetero1075 says:
    December 30, 2017 at 12:57 pm
    Unless you’re in the playoff , you should sit out if you’re a expected 1st round pick. When guys sit out the national championship game, then there’s a problem.

    Why would it make a difference for the college player in the playoffs? By the same logic, a player skipping his team’s post season play will skip his team’s playoff and national championship games. Why should an NFL player for a bad and non-contending team with his contract expiring play out the string? All about ME.

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