First-round prospect Matt Corral carted off after leg injury in Sugar Bowl

Allstate Sugar Bowl - Baylor v Ole Miss
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Ole Miss quarterback Matt Corral, a first-round prospect in the 2022 NFL draft, limped off the field and was carted to the locker room after taking a hit to his leg in the Sugar Bowl tonight.

There was no immediate word on the severity of Corral’s injury, but it once again raises the question of whether players who are going to be drafted in April should play in bowl games in December and January.

The debate about players sitting out bowl games intensified just this morning, when Kirk Herbstreit asserted on ESPN that players skipping bowl games are showing that they don’t love football as much as the players of old. (Herbstreit made no such assertion about coaches who leave their teams before their bowl games to take higher-paying jobs.)

Many top draft prospects have decided not to play in their bowl games in recent years, and NFL teams don’t seem to hold that against them. NFL talent evaluators recognize that players sometimes have to look out for their own interests, and protect themselves from injuries in glorified exhibition games. Corral’s injury is another reminder of what players are risking when they agree to play in bowls.

32 responses to “First-round prospect Matt Corral carted off after leg injury in Sugar Bowl

  1. Kirk is a total dork of course but he’s accurate with his opinion. Today, it’s all about the money, nothing else. Period.

  2. Chase, Slater and Sewell didn’t even play in 2020 and still went top 15 in the 2021 draft. Talent evaluators don’t care.

  3. No one made him play. He wanted to play and did. Question. Where would he be today without playing college football?

  4. This is why top prospects have insurance policies against injury. Hope Matt availed himself to that.

  5. Double standard. Apparently the coaches who get paid millions aren’t held to the same standards as the kids trying to get paid when considering business decisions. Herbstreit makes millions broadcasting games and discussing these kids. He apparently is upset that his games, ratings and eventually his paycheck will suffer from thes kids looking out for their best interest. If someone said pay the kids for bowl games like the pro’s get paid for playoff games, there would me mass hysteria and indignation by the same folks making millions off them.

  6. And I assume Kirk is working for free? No he cares about the money so don’t blame the kids

  7. Players who rank up on the draft boards should take the bowl game off. Everyone agrees with that.

  8. Yep, Micah Parsons clearly doesn’t love football, lol. Better stop listening to these hypocrites whose livelihood depends on these players playing for free.

  9. I agree with Herbstreit; coaches get paid bonuses for getting to and/or winning bowl games so who do these players think they are putting their and their families future ahead of a head coach struggling along on a couple million a year?

  10. So easy for Hebstreit to say — he is not risking any of his own money. Corral may well have cost himself millions of dollars in a game that meant absolutely nothing except to generate revenue for Ole Miss and ESPN.

  11. Anyone who thinks these players should be out there has no idea what this game is like on the field. Herbstreit can talk his rhetoric all he wants there is no reason to risk your health when it is paramount to how you make a living.

  12. I suppose I believe both in players’ rights to opt out of bowl games as a business decision and also of analysts to criticize and critique them for it.

    After all, football is a game with a one-hundred percent injury rate, and I vouch for players doing what is in their best interests.

    At the same time, we pay analysts to offer their perspective, whatever it may be. Somehow, we have reached a norm where analysis we don’t like is wrong.

    I may not agree with Herbstreit, but I’m glad he said what he said. The problem is the consumers of sports media, who always think they know it all.

  13. The bowl games are ESPN productions. They paid for that right, and they expect a healthy return on their investment. ESPN (and specifically, ESPN’s college football crew) have a vested financial interest in stars playing.

    Herbstreit doesn’t care about players’ “love for the game”. He cares about his paycheck.

  14. Why is herbstreet allowed to broadcast ohio state games? Bigger homer on the planet.

  15. You hate to see this happen. Murphy’s Law. Expand the playoffs and at least bring some meaning to these wasteful bowl games.

  16. Yeah, theoriginalsurferbob, it’s about money. It’s always been about money. That tough guy, “it’s about the team,” bravado is antiquated. Setting up your family for generations of prosperity is much more important than fighting for something that you think is important in your early twenties, that really isn’t.

  17. Why is it just the bowl game that is too risky? The only games this line of thinking feels are worth the risk are the three playoff games. Once those are off the table, which occurred for Ole Miss long ago, the remaining games of the season are glorified exhibition games. Corral has been risking injury ‘for nothing’ since mid October. The team wasn’t earning a trip to Atlanta or getting one of the 4 spots. The shouldn’t play in the bowl game because there is nothing to win logic means star players should stop as soon as a championship is not possible.

  18. In the days of old when teams played for a mythical national championship I would argue for guys to suit up. But with the CFP … nah. If a dude is ‘bonafide’ and his team isn’t in the final-four it’s time to move on; it’s a business decision.

  19. I think kirk is totally wrong..these kids love football it’s the agents and scouts that tell them should sit..kirk is just mad cause he wants to see these top nfl draft picks play in bowls games cause these players make the bowl games better to watch and call. Just like nba games, you pay for tickets and wanna see the all-stars play not the scrubs unit

  20. Short of being paralyzed there are very few career ending injuries. Dak snaps his leg and yet becomes a top paid qb. Bridgewater destroys his knee on a pass drop back and yet he’s still making millions. If your football career doesn’t pan out then surely that college degree will ensure a successful life right?

  21. Top college players need to be paid ..and they should be able to enter the nfl whenever they want..and hey should be able to sign with any team they want ..all this stuff is antitrust..meanwhile all the rich owners cry out about free enterprise when their other companies have to pay any corporate tax or an increases minimum wage for their employees..the NCAA and the zNFL should have to pay their fair share

  22. Imo the kids should play bowl games, there’s no guarantee that they will make it in the nfl.

  23. There are 44 Bowl Games this year. Most of them were not at full capacity. And most are played with “substitute” players. Some teams have different head coaches, due to taking a different job. (Maybe a ban on coaches accepting other jobs until after the Bowl season.). Maybe it’s time to expand the CFP and eliminate some of these lesser Bowls.

  24. Admire this guy’s toughness, at the same time, I wouldn’t touch him if I was an NFL team. Too injury prone and taken a bunch of hits and he’s not very big to absorb those hits. It will be worse in the NFL

  25. For some of these kids are likely 1st through 3rd round NFL draft picks,… it’s a business decision. You’re talking about a livelihood that could support them financially for the rest of their lives. As a fan sure I want to see the best players on the field. But I’m not in their shoes.
    It’s a free country and they have that right to make that decision.

  26. First make sure anyone playing in a college bowl game and any Seniors and NFL eligible players have an insurance policy to protect their future. Second expand the playoffs to 12 games with the Power 4 conference winners getting a first round bye. The rest of the slots are filled in by the teams ranked 5-12. These would be your bowl games. Do away with all of the other nonsense made for TV Bowl games.

  27. He wasn’t assured a 1st round. Maybe he wanted to prove he belongs in the top of the 1st. But He still makes dumb mistakes, takes risks throwinginto coverage. Always has 1 or 2 a game head scratching ints’. Needs to be corrected.

  28. I didn’t think Corral was a first round pick, so maybe there’s a reason he was playing. Also, leg injuries for QB’s are much different than they are for a position that relied on pure speed. But also, the surgeries have gotten to the point where plenty of players make 100% recoveries. Joe Burrow looks pretty decent after his injury. Tom Brady missed 2008 with a knee injury. He did ok after his return. Even RB Nick Chubb looks like he made a full recovery. Nothing is guaranteed, so it’s not an easy decision for these kids to make. Hope Corral makes a full recovery and has a lucrative NFL career.

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