Injured UCLA star Myles Jack had talked it over with head coach Jim Mora, heard his concerns, but thought he had his former coach’s blessing to withdraw from school to prepare for his NFL career.
Little did he know Mora was going to take shots at his decision, saying it was “very risky to do this” with just three games of film from his junior season for NFL scouts to evaluate.
(Never mind that Jets cornerback Antonio Cromartie was drafted 19th overall with no games of film from his junior season because of a torn ACL, Mora has a UCLA program to run here.)
“It was kind of a brief conversation, straight and to the point, and we just came to the agreement that it was the best decision,” Jack told Michael Silver of the NFL Network. “It went pretty smoothly. He wanted to make sure I was 100-percent sure, and that it was really what I wanted to do, and not just what others wanted.
“In the end, he said that if that’s what I want to do, he would back me up 1,000 percent, and that whatever I needed to do to try to get to the next level, he would help me any way he could.”
So Jack was taken aback to hear Mora’s remarks, but was comfortable with his own call.
“It definitely surprised me, but I don’t know — maybe that’s what he felt,” Jack said. “I mean, it’s a little crazy down there right now. They just suffered their first defeat [to Arizona State], and these are crazy times around here. But I’m still riding with the Bruins.
“Coming from him, I can’t discredit what he’s done in the NFL, so I have to value his opinion. I have no choice but to respect his opinion and take what he says into consideration. The only scout I know is my head coach, so what he says, I have to take it seriously. But I’m definitely glad I made the decision.”
Jack shouldn’t be surprised, as colleges take very seriously their custody of the practically unpaid interns who provide the labor for their multi-million dollar corporations.
“I remember when I was a freshman I saw them selling my jersey [at the student store],” Jack said. “I looked at the price tag: $65.99. I said, ‘Ah, man, that’s messed up.'”
So instead of protecting their financial interest, he chose his own. He said he plans to return to UCLA to finish his degree at some point, which is smart, since the average NFL career is around four seasons, and he’s already recovering from a major knee injury. But by that time, he won’t be able to help Mora, so it’s little surprise the support he thought he had didn’t last long.