Christian McCaffrey skips bowl game to focus on NFL draft

Getty Images

Stanford running back Christian McCaffrey has joined LSU running back Leonard Fournette in making a rare decision that may soon become commonplace: They’re skipping their bowl games to focus on the NFL draft.

McCaffrey announced today that he won’t play in Stanford’s bowl game because he wants to keep his body healthy for the Combine and put himself in the best position possible at draft time.

“Very tough decision, but I have decided not to play in the Sun Bowl so I can begin my draft prep immediately,” McCaffrey wrote. “Thanks to all my teammates for their 100% support–It means a lot to me. Go Cardinal!”

McCaffrey and Fournette are taking an unusual step, but it may soon become commonplace. Last year, Notre Dame linebacker Jaylon Smith suffered a major knee injury in the Fiesta Bowl and dropped from a likely Top 5 pick to the second round, costing himself millions of dollars in the process. Why should players take that risk while they’re amateurs, instead of protecting their bodies until they turn pro?

They shouldn’t. McCaffrey and Fournette are doing the smart thing. And whether the NCAA likes it or not, it will soon become the common thing.

35 responses to “Christian McCaffrey skips bowl game to focus on NFL draft

  1. No doubt everyone saw the damage done to ND linebacker Jaylon Smith’s knew last year in a bowl game and figured that they weren’t going to put themselves in that position for a game that means nothing. Can’t really blame them, but how long before someone in the playoffs does the same thing?

  2. Not sure how common it will become. There was far more incentive to stop playing college games early before the latest rookie pay scale came into effect and guys weren’t commonly skipping out early then. So, why would they start that practice now en force?

    And McCaffrey was banged up virtually all season. He likely needs the time to recuperate from current injuries more than he is trying to avoid getting a new injury.

  3. Interesting fact… not one Sr. in the top 25 RBs for this years Draft. I agree with McCafferty and if these guys showed their stuff as underclassmen; get OUT and get PAID asap especially at this position. However, please consider getting your Degree on the side as it is rare a RB to be in the league for more than 4 years. He is a late second rounder and I wish him well.

  4. Commitment is just a word to some people. To some it’s a testament to ones character to weather or not their word means anything or not. “You can count on me.” I’m lucky enough to have two people in my life that I can count on with my life.

    On the flip side there are even more people in this world that can not be counted on no matter what they say, they only do what is best for themselves.

  5. I get where he is coming from but I can’t help thinking about all his teammates that were hoping to get a couple of more highlights on their reel to show prospective pro teams and the vast majority of others who know they will never be a pro but want to win the game because this will be the highlight of their football life and now someone has taken it from them.

  6. He isn’t playing for a championship, so I can understand skipping a bowl game.

    I remember Joe Thomas played DL in a pinch for Badgers and had an injury that made him return for his senior season. That may have went on to be a blessing in disguise as I believe he got drafted higher than he may have orignally, and I don’t believe he has missed a snap on his procareer.

  7. Ben Greenwood says:
    Dec 19, 2016 10:06 AM
    Is it against amateur rules for Stanford to get him an insurance policy?
    ———–
    I think it is. But I think it’s totally acceptable for McCaffery to get insurance for himself.

    IIRC both Frank Gore and Willis McGahee has insurance policies that protected them in case of injury.

    For the overwhelming majority of the people playing in these Bowl Games it’s their final game of their football history period. So they are far from meaningless for the majority of the players involved.

  8. “Thanks coach for helping me get drafted, teaching me important skills, and putting me in a position to be successful but now I’m going to bail. Peace. “

  9. “Why should players take that risk while they’re amateurs, instead of protecting their bodies until they turn pro?” Because they ARE paid. Players get financial compensation worth more than many Americans earn in salary a year in scholarships, plus they get free access to world-class athletic facilities and training (that among other things allow them to develop peak physical conditioning), and most importantly (and overlooked), players with pro potential are given a free platform by which to develop a name brand that will lead to additional millions more than they would have earned were they nameless draft picks.

    Just look at the commercials Brady Quinn, who did nothing at the pro level, still got paid for. All that money “he” earned was thanks to the exposure he was given thanks to Notre Dame’s massive brand.

    I’m not saying that that changes whether players “have” to play in a bowl game or not, but this talk of no compensation is BS. Players are compensated tremendously, and you’re just ignoring it.

  10. I guess some think Le’Veon Bell should skip THIS post season since he is scheduled to be a free agent next year?

    If you sign a contract you should honor that to completion.

  11. These bowl games are stupid… They’re like participation trophies for getting past 6 wins. I bet he wouldn’t do this if his team was playing in the Playoffs… Me Me Me Me McCaffrey

  12. factschecker says:
    Dec 19, 2016 10:46 AM
    I guess some think Le’Veon Bell should skip THIS post season since he is scheduled to be a free agent next year?

    If you sign a contract you should honor that to completion.
    ___________________________________

    Le-Veon Bell is earning a living playing football. NCAA kids are not.

    Does honoring the contract work both ways? Should teams have to pay a player the entire length of the contract?

    Maybe players will start honoring their commitments when teams start honoring theirs.

    Last time I checked teams cut bait early on a regular….

  13. laxcoach37 says: Dec 19, 2016 9:49 AM
    Interesting fact… not one Sr. in the top 25 RBs for this years Draft. I agree with McCafferty and if these guys showed their stuff as underclassmen; get OUT and get PAID asap especially at this position. However, please consider getting your Degree on the side as it is rare a RB to be in the league for more than 4 years. He is a late second rounder and I wish him well.
    ==============================================

    “McCaffrey” was born with a silver spoon in his mouth as his dad, Ed, McCaffrey used to play for the Broncos and is now a very prominent businessman thanks to Elway and Pat Bowlen (Broncos owner). He’ll be fine.

  14. Why should he play? The NCAA is making millions ..actually probably close to a billion dollars just on bowl games. What do the players get…..they get a play station…or some trinket!!!
    That also get to be away from their families for the holidays and
    miss classes ( remember they are still students …yeah students!)
    Last but not least ….if you have ever been to the Sun Bowl in beautiful
    downtown El Paso …across the boarder from one of the most dangerous, violent cities in the world …you would never go back. It is
    the worst place in the world for a bowl game.
    If the players were getting even a 10 percent cut …maybe he should play, but why fill the NCAA and school bank accounts for nothing?

  15. I actually have no problem with him skipping the bowl game to protect himself. But, I do wonder how much the flood gates will open up for other players to skip the bowls?

  16. shaggytoodle says:
    Dec 19, 2016 10:20 AM
    I remember Joe Thomas played DL in a pinch for Badgers and had an injury that made him return for his senior season. That may have went on to be a blessing in disguise as I believe he got drafted higher than he may have orignally, and I don’t believe he has missed a snap on his procareer.
    —————————
    He got drafted by the browns…
    There was/is no blessing in disguise if it leads to being a part of the Browns.

  17. factschecker says:
    Dec 19, 2016 10:46 AM
    I guess some think Le’Veon Bell should skip THIS post season since he is scheduled to be a free agent next year?

    If you sign a contract you should honor that to completion.
    =========================================
    It’s not a contract and many players leave school early. They also renounce scholarships and give up that benefit of the bargain with him. I would have no problem if the school came after McCaffrey for tuition, room, and board for the Fall semester. That’s equitable.

  18. Players are NOT paid. Im sorry. A scholarship that’s capped at its value is NOT paying someone. If it was then are you people that suggest it is claiming that students on academic scholarships are paid? That’s just silly. Both players bring way more to the schools in monetary value than the inflated scholarship value the schools put out. Schools are not competing and spending all that money recruiting high school all americans for the goodness of their hearts and people pretending that’s the case are just being rediculous. These players deliver in monetary value far above whatever they have ti “pay” the athletes. It’s about time these athletes started protecting themselves and their well being rather than worry about what greedy fans and school admins think. This system will never make sense to me.

  19. I could see playing if it was for the playoff / championship. Name a team in each of the last 3 Sun Bowls ? or who won one if your team was not in it ? Can’t? So how important is it ? Would you risk your kids career so he could possibly be a Sun Bowl Champion ?

  20. After comparing comments from this story with comments from the Leonard Fournette story just three days ago, I think it’s funny how Christian McCaffery has a lot more supportive comments and Fournette has a lot more derogatory comments…don’t believe me, look for yourself.

  21. The charm of college sports is long gone. College sports are simply a development league for the NFL and NBA. Schools mean nothing to the players. My alma mater’s mercenary players and coaches mean nothing to me.

  22. mathandstatsmatter says:
    Dec 19, 2016 5:15 PM

    The charm of college sports is long gone. College sports are simply a development league for the NFL and NBA. Schools mean nothing to the players. My alma mater’s mercenary players and coaches mean nothing to me.

    Good Riddance! College football is just as great without you

  23. I have no problem with this, since the season is over, and the bowl games being skipped are essentially just for fun (and money for the participating schools).

    However, sitting out meaningful season games or a full season is a different thing entirely. When players quit on their school/teammates, they should be prepared to be dropped off of scholarship immediately, and any negative backlash from fans/media will be solely the players doing.

Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to leave a comment. Not a member? Register now!